Doctors say...

“The staff at Mast know and understand how to fit shoes, a rarity today. They are experts at what they do. In addition to being professional and well informed, the staff at Mast Shoes are patient and take time to ensure the best possible fit. They’re an asset to our community.”

Mark Klein, Podiatrist

What is a Certified Pedorthist?

A Certified Pedorthist is a specialist who uses footwear — including shoes, shoe modifications, foot orthoses, and other pedorthic devices — to solve foot and lower limb problems and achieve the best mobility possible. Mast Shoes is the only shoe store in Ann Arbor with a Certified Pedorthist on staff.

Foot conditions

We have compiled a list of the foot conditions we see most frequently in our store. We regularly help people with many other quirky foot conditions that are not on this list, too.

  1. Plantar Fasciitis
  2. Metatarsalgia
  3. Bunions
  4. Bunionette
  5. Hammer Toes
  6. Arthritis
Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is the long band of tissue that supports the longitudinal arch and connects the calcaneous (heel bone) to the toes. When the plantar fascia becomes strained from overuse and/or insufficient support, it can become swollen and irritated. Plantar fasciitis is characterized by pain in the underside of the heel. It is often most intense in the morning upon arising and in the evening after periods of rest.

Treatments often include arch support, stretching the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon, icing, losing weight, rest, and custom orthoses.

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Metatarsalgia is a general term used to refer to any painful foot condition affecting the metatarsal region of the foot (the area just before the toes, also known as the ball of foot). This is a common foot disorder that can affect the bones and joints at the ball of the foot. Metatarsalgia is usually due to excessive pressure over long periods of time. It most often occurs under the first metatarsal head (near the big toe). This kind of pain is often caused by improper fitting footwear, most often in women’s dress shoes. Shoes with narrow toe boxes force the ball of the foot into a minimal amount of space. This causes pressure and discomfort and can lead to inhibition of the walking process.

Treatments include properly fitting footwear with high toe boxes and/or rocker bottoms, custom orthoses, metatarsal pads, and low heeled shoes.

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A bunion is a deformity that occurs in the joint between the big toe and the foot (1st MTP joint). The joint thickens and enlarges causing a bony prominence on the inside of the 1st MPT joint. The big toe tends to angle toward the smaller toes sometimes coming to rest on top of or underneath the 2nd and 3rd toes. Bunions are sometimes painful and are caused by long term irritation from arthritis, poorly fitting shoes (short, tight or sharply pointed) and heredity. Painful bunions often cause people to walk improperly.

Treatments include wider fitting shoes, no high heels, custom orthoses, ice, and bunion night splints and stretching.

Stretches that help keep the joint mobile: Hold the big toe with one hand and move in all directions. Hold the position at the end of the range of motion for at least 10 seconds. Repeat several times in all directions. Find a strong elastic band and loop it around both big toes. Spread your feet apart so that the toes straighten out (as much as possible). Hold the straight position for a few minutes, rest and repeat.

Preventing bunions: Bunions are often preventable by wearing shoes that fit properly. The toe box of the shoe should be wide enough for the toes not to be forced together. The tops of the four smaller toes, when resting in the shoe should be about level with each other. A good way of checking this is to reach down (while standing up) and make sure that the widest part of the foot is lined up with the widest part of the shoe.

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A bunionette is a painful bump on the outside of the foot near the little toe. It is also known as a tailor’s bunion. Bunionettes are very much like bunions and can often be avoided by wearing shoes that aren’t too tight across the ball of the foot.

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Hammer Toes

A hammer toe is a deformity of the second, third and forth toes. The toe is bent at the middle joint so that it resembles a hammer. Corns and calluses often form at the top of the middle joint of a hammer toe from friction between the raised joint and the footwear.

Treatment includes footwear with high toe boxes to accommodate the height of the hammer toe, hammer toe crests, and hammer toe splints.

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Arthritis includes a group of disorders that affect bone joints in the body. Symptoms include inflammation, joint pain and limited movement of joints. Arthritic diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, septic arthritis, and osteoarthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one out of every three Americans (an estimated 70 million people) is affected by one of the more than 100 types of arthritis.

Possible treatment of arthritis in the feet includes includes properly fitting footwear, high toe boxes, soft upper shoe materials, orthotics, and rocker bottom shoes (to take pressure off the ball of the foot).

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