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Anatomical and orthopedic footwear - Difference and when to wear them

Anatomical and orthopedic footwear - Difference and when to wear them When to wear anatomical footwear (photo: Freepik)

It's not uncommon to come across the term anatomical when choosing footwear. Despite having some orthopedic properties, there is a significant difference between them.

Read about the difference between anatomical and orthopedic footwear.

Sources: Ortomediсa, Ortоlad, OrthoFeet.

Features of anatomical footwear

Anatomical footwear is footwear that is primarily designed to be anatomically close to the foot. This not only increases comfort but also helps prevent deformities.

Anatomical footwear has the following characteristics:

  • consideration of foot anatomy: wide toe box that does not squeeze the toes;
  • the back of the shoe maintains its shape and is quite firm;
  • flexible sole;
  • the insole is mostly soft, and has an anatomical relief, or a cushion under the arch;
  • typically, the insoles do not have a supinator;
  • the heel can be of any height;
  • the height of the footwear is not uniform, with the heel part higher than the toe;
  • the material of the footwear is flexible and moderately soft.

In this way, it can be considered a relative of orthopedic footwear, although sometimes anatomical footwear is synonymous with orthopedic footwear.

When to wear anatomical footwear

Correctly selected footwear according to anatomical features is primarily the key to comfort and health for everyone. However, while anatomical footwear can help prevent deformities, it is mostly mass-produced footwear.

Therefore, when recommended by an orthopedist, it is necessary to choose not only anatomically comfortable footwear but orthopedic footwear according to the doctor's recommendations and individual problems.

Features of orthopedic footwear

Orthopedic footwear is usually referred to as footwear used to treat certain foot pathologies and deformities, but there is also preventive orthopedic footwear.

Characteristics of orthopedic footwear include:

  • consideration of foot anatomy: the footwear has a wide toe box that does not squeeze the toes;
  • the back of the footwear is firm, strong, and rigid;
  • the sole can be flexible but is individually selected and in some cases may be rigid;
  • the insole is orthopedic, frame-based, and mostly moderately rigid, with an anatomical relief. It can be custom-made;
  • the heel can be of different heights but is individually selected based on the deformity;
  • the heel part is higher than the toe, but the height of the heel is determined by the person's age;
  • the material of the footwear depends on individual indications.

Although most characteristics of orthopedic footwear are also typical of anatomical footwear, such as considering the shape of the foot, orthopedic footwear is manufactured and selected according to the specific case.

Every orthopedic footwear is anatomical, but not all anatomical footwear has all the functions of orthopedic footwear.

When to wear orthopedic footwear

Orthopedic footwear is selected according to the doctor's instructions for correcting pathologies and conditions, including in cases such as:

  • flat feet (transverse, longitudinal, and combined) in children and adults, as well as other foot deformities;
  • acute or chronic forms of joint diseases, such as arthritis or arthrosis;
  • spinal deformities (lordosis, scoliosis, kyphosis);
  • after surgeries or injuries.

Preventive orthopedic footwear can increase walking comfort and prevent foot deformities. However, before purchasing it, it is necessary to consult with an orthopedic specialist.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.