Monday 10 February 2014

Footwear Recommendations for Patients with Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

by Paul Mäkinen, C.Ped.(C), C.Ped.Tech.(C)
Certified Pedorthist, Atlantic Region - LifeMark Health Halifax

Proper fitting footwear is a good starting point to help reduce symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

Numbness in Feet? Changes to Your Footwear May Help

Peripheral nerves are those that connect to the nerves that travel from the central nervous system to the further areas of the body (legs and arms). When a person suffers from Peripheral Neuropathy they typically present with symptoms of altered sensation, numbness/tingling, and some burning pain.

When these symptoms present in the feet, there are many things that can be done to help reduce the effects. The first thing to consider is the overall mechanical function of the feet and how that may affect the foot structures. There are many options to help address foot mechanics including custom orthotics, off the shelf orthotics and proper fitting footwear.

Proper fitting footwear is likely the best starting point to help reduce some of the symptoms, according to LifeMark/Centric Health Certified Pedorthist for the Atlantic Region, Paul Mäkinen.  “The most common area of concern with Peripheral Neuropathy, in the feet, is the metatarsal region commonly referred to as the 'ball of the foot' area. These bones and joints will often present with pain, tenderness, and some form of numbness/tingling in the region. The use of a shoe with a stiff forefoot rocker will help to alleviate pressure off this area and will often reduce symptoms by reducing pressure on the metatarsals”, he explains.

Proper Shoe Sizing Includes Width as well as Length

It is also very important to be sure that you have the proper sizing when you select shoes. Not only do you want to be sure that you have the proper length, but the appropriate width is crucial as well. When the width is not correct, you often compress the nerves and structures in the area causing more symptoms.

Some brands/styles of shoes that will offer you good forefoot rocker soles and width options are:
New Balance 928
New Balance 840
Dunham 8000

For additional information regarding footwear and neuropathies in general, please refer to The footwear considerations for someone with CIPN are very similar to the neuropathies that diabetic’s experience. 

If you have specific questions about footwear/orthotic options for your CIPN related symptoms, contact our Atlantic Region Certified Pedorthist, Paul Mäkinen, by email at

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