One of the things we tend to ignore, is our feet. They put up with a lot of abuse and don’t get taken care of very well. At least thats the case for the majority of us! So lets have a look at those shoes which are the worse for your feet, the ones which cause the most problems.
The first and most obvious one is the high heel shoe. Ladies, it may not be good for you. Ultra-high heels can lead to everything from ankle sprains to chronic pain. Whether they’re sky-high or mid-heel, this style is notorious for causing a painful knot on the back of the heel. The rigid material presses on a bony deformity some women have called a “pump bump.” The pressure leads to blisters, swelling, bursitis, even pain in the Achilles tendon. Ice, orthotics, and heel pads may provide pain relief …along with better shoes. The bony protrusion is permanent.
Ultra-high heels force the feet into a position that puts stress on the ball of the foot. Just where the toe joint bends. Too much pressure can inflame these bones or the nerves that surround them. Chronic stress to the foot bones can even lead to hairline fractures. Switching to lower heels will help you avoid problems with the toe bones. The lower you go, the more natural your foot position will be. Experts recommend choosing heels that are no more than 2 inches (5 cms) high, and even those should be worn in moderation.
All high heels boost the risk of an ankle sprain. The most common problem is a lateral sprain, which happens when you roll onto the outside of your foot. This stretches the ankle ligaments beyond their normal length. A severe sprain may tear the ligaments. A sprained ankle should be immobilized and may need physical therapy to heal properly. The risk of developing osteoarthritis rises with a severe sprain or fracture of the ankle. Although all high heels can cause problems, the ultra narrow heels of stilettos are particularly risky. The weight is pinpointed on one area, that makes you wobble like you’re walking on stilts.The result is that you’re more likely to trip and sprain your ankle.
A chunky heel has more surface area and distributes your weight more evenly. This makes the feet much more stable when compared to stilettos or spindle heels. Although thick high heels can still put stress on the ball of your foot, they may reduce the tripping hazard by minimizing your wobble. Experts have compared the flat shoe (ballet type shoes/pumps) to walking on cardboard. There’s no arch support that keeps the feet from functioning optimally and can lead to knee, hip, and back problems. Poor arch support is also associated with a painful foot condition called plantar fasciitis (we have blogged about that, so you can have a search for it). If you love the look of ballet flats, over-the-counter inserts may help prevent mild foot pain. Heel pads can provide extra cushioning for achy heels.
Flip-flops offer very little protection. The risk of getting splinters or other foot injuries is higher when the feet are so exposed. People with diabetes should not wear flip-flops, because simple cuts and scrapes can lead to serious complications. In addition, many flip-flops provide no arch support. Like ballet flats, they can aggravate plantar fasciitis and cause problems with the knees, hips, or back.
Platform shoes and wedges tend to have rigid foot beds. That throws off the biomechanics of walking. Your foot is trying to bend a certain way, but the shoe is fighting you because it’s so rigid. If the heel of the platform is much higher than the toe area, the shoe also puts pressure on the metatarsal bones (the toe joints). Although still not recommended, a flatter platform shoe may put less strain on your feet than its peers. Look for a wide wedge or platform that is nearly parallel with the ground. This will lessen the pressure on the ball of the foot. However, the rigid sole remains a barrier to the natural walking motion.
Pointy toe shoes may be stylish, but shoes with pointy toes squeeze the entire front of your foot together. After time, this can cause nerve pain, bunions, blisters, and hammertoes. Some women even develop bruises under their toenails from the constant pressure. High heeled shoes push too much body weight toward the toes and then squeeze them together. Over time, the result can be abnormal bends in the toe joints that can gradually become rigid. Surgery is sometimes needed to relieve the pain in severe cases. Crowding can cause other toe deformities, along with continuous shoe friction, leading to painful corns and calluses. You can avoid the pointy toe perils by selecting boxier shoes. If that style doesn’t appeal to you, look for shoes that slope to a point beyond the edge of your toes. A healthy style won’t pinch the tips or sides of your toes. Choose a softer material, rather than stiff leather. Pointy-toed shoes have crossed the gender line. This footwear fad carries the same risk in men as in women
Many women are unwilling to trade style for comfort, but you may not have to choose between the two. Performance pumps offer a sound compromise, taking both fashion and your health into consideration. They are typically made with reinforced heels, athletic shoe construction, and more wiggle room for your toes…however, I have a feeling they not too popular.
Nine out of 10 women are wearing shoes that are too small! The consequences aren’t pretty – calluses, blisters, bunions, corns, and other problems. The constant rubbing can irritate the joints in the foot and lead to arthritis. Research suggests many children are also wearing the wrong shoe size, which puts them at risk for foot deformities as they grow. Before buying new shoes, have a professional measure the length and width of your feet at the end of the day, while you’re standing. Many reputable shoe stores have devices to measure your feet. For unusually flat feet or high arches, an exam by a podiatrist may be warranted. These conditions can increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Early treatment and use of proper footwear may help to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on the joints of the foot.
If you’re ready to do right by your feet, here are three tips:
- Make sure the shoe bends at the toe box, but is not too flexible.
- Make sure there is a sufficient arch support.
- Choose a chunky heel that is less than 2 inches high.
So thats it! You will need to decide, if the health of your foot is worth those Louboutin’s or Jimmy Choo’s! Lady Gaga is known for her eccentric style, but you may want to think twice before stepping into the heel-less shoes she favours. The 12-inch mega-heels seen in her “Bad Romance” video are equally risky, check it out, if you have the time!