Shoes, especially party shoes, can impart glamour and feminine appeal to a woman’s look; but this beauty enhancement comes at a price to foot health. The human foot wasn’t designed to be put in the contortions brought about through wearing pointy toes, stilettos, spike heels and backless shoes. No wonder business is booming for podiatrists.
The problems aren’t confined to fancy footwear but include styles many consider sensible, such as flats and pumps. Moreover, the negative effects aren’t limited to the feet: they also include the gait, which puts strain on the hips, knees and back. Here are disorders shoes can cause along with tips on how to choose styles that are better for your feet.
(The information is taken from the recommendations of John Anderson, MD, co-chair of the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society’s Public Education Committee, and podiatrist Andrew Shapiro, DPM, a spokesman for the American Podiatric Medical Association to WebMD, as well as from the advice of podiatrist Emma Supple to the Daily Mail.)
Shapiro rates flip-flops as the top shoe villain, and the infographic below supports his opinion. They offer zero protection and support, so try to use them only for walking on the beach. Wearing them while dashing around and playing sports in the backyard can lead to injuries such as broken toes, sprained ankles and scraped feet, he says. Sandals that have a strap in the back are safer footwear for leisure activities.
2. Pointy Toes
Pointy shoes with embellishments look elegant, but squishing the toes together can cause pain and hammertoes, warns Supple. Shapiro advises limiting the use of these styles to rare occasions and opting for shoes with a wider toe box.
3. Spike Heels
Shapiro says a heel higher than two inches can lead to chronic shortening of the Achilles heel. Tall-heeled shoes also put pressure on the ball of the foot, causing the cushioning fat underneath to thin, which in turn leads to pain, fractures and hammertoes, he adds. This is another style to limit to special events.
Although many people feel this style is the most sensible, its rigid leather can chafe the heel and produce “pump bump,” says Supple. This disorder starts as an irritation and can quickly result in blisters. Over time, it can lead to a bony protrusion that requires surgical removal.
Flats, particularly ballet flats, lack the arch support and cushioning you need. Ballet flats carry the risk of tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, notes Shapiro. Other flats and moccasins produce friction on the foot that can cause corns, calluses and blisters. This kind of footwear also worsens painful fallen arches, says Supple.
6. Backless Shoes
When wearing backless shoes, a woman’s toes clench to get support, which may lead to hammertoes over time, explains Shapiro. Since the shoes are constantly tapping the heels, calluses and bruises can also develop, says Supple.
What to Look for When Buying Shoes
For leisure time activities when a dressy shoe isn’t required, good-fitting athletic shoes are best. When choosing shoes for daily office wear, Shapiro advises pumps or flats with a good arch support, wide toe box and support around the heel. He recommends avoiding styles with a heel height greater than 1.5 inches and says a lace-up or buckle closure is ideal.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.