Healthy Foot Forward
Elizabeth Hahn of Cantilever Shoe Store
I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. So I said, "Got any shoes you’re not using?
― Comedian Steven Wright
One foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles and 107 ligaments that balance and carry our weight as we move through our daily lives. We rarely think about our feet as long as they meet terra firma with nimbleness and ease.
When they don’t, it might be time to get in touch with Elizabeth Hahn.
Hahn is a pedorthist, a professional who has specialized training to modify footwear and employ supportive devices to address conditions that affect the feet and lower limbs. She works at Cantilever Shoe Store in Metairie.
“We’re like a pharmacist,” she says. “We get the prescription and then we fill it. We strictly fool with the foot.”
Hahn’s been fooling with feet and shoes for almost 40 years.
“I started with Knapp Shoes because my mother-in-law worked there,” she says. “I’ve been with Cantilever now for 28 years. I work with a lot of people who have diabetes and having the right shoe and the right fit prevents amputations. Since I’ve been doing this, the number of patients who have had to have amputations has definitely decreased. We are a part of our clients’ healthcare team. We are a part of keeping them healthy and they become our family.”
You don’t need a prescription to shop at Cantilever. The store sells, on average, 100 pairs of shoes per week that can give comfort from such things as plantar fasciitis, bursitis, tendinitis, diabetic foot ulcers, foot, ankle, and heel pain, and they just make aching feet feel better.
The shoes can also be a bit high fashion. Hahn suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and has worn specialized shoes for a long time.
“My children always told me I wore the ugliest shoes but some of the styles now are beautiful.”
Cantilever has been around since 1921 and has a staff of four, Hahn is the store manager and Jean Sears is the owner.
“Jean inherited the store, her father had owned it as a silent partner,” she shares. “It was in the Pere Marquette building. She decided to take it over and she was the first female president on the Pedorthic Footcare Association.”
Though she might complain about the amount of paperwork she has to fight through, Hahn says she truly loves her work. She does it because she knows she’s helping people stay healthy.
Cantilever Shoe Store
3429 Houma Blvd., Metairie