Your shoes are more than just a fashion accessory, but are you wearing the right ones for your physical health? The next time you want to splurge on the latest skyscraper heels or ballet pumps, take a second to consider these pointers to ensure your feet remain healthy.
There are various problems that wearing the wrong shoes can create for your feet and overall health. At the Foot, Ankle, & Leg Vein Center, we have the lowdown on what they are and how you can prevent them.
Incorrect footwear puts you at risk of developing bunions
Bunions are hard, bony bumps on your big toe joints. They can progressively worsen until they become extremely uncomfortable and it’s difficult to wear the shoes you like. Wearing high heels and pointy shoes squishes your big toes against your smaller toes, causing them to change shape and paving the way for a bunion to eventually develop. Tip: Try to find shoes that have a square toe box. The toe box is the part of the shoe for the toes and the front of the foot.
Hammertoes can also be caused by high heels or pointy shoes that bend the toes down into a claw-like position. This condition is most common in your second toe but can affect any of your toes. Hammertoes are painful and restrict your range of motion. Tip: Try to wear shoes that are either a wedge or have a front platform.
When bunions and hammertoes cause significant pain and discomfort, you may need surgical intervention to resolve the problem.
Other issues poorly fitting shoes cause include:
- Corns, thick spots on top of or between your toes from the excess pressure of too tight shoes
- Ingrown toenails from shoes that crowd your toes too much
- “Pump bump,” a painful swelling on the back of your heel caused by high heels
The wrong shoes affect more than just your feet
Wearing the wrong shoes can be so uncomfortable and painful that you may reduce your physical activity. For example, you may call for a taxi rather than walk a few blocks because your feet hurt too much. If this becomes the norm rather than the exception, you could be putting your health at risk.
Reducing your physical activity like this triggers a vicious health cycle. Less exercise can affect your cardiovascular health and circulation, and put you at risk of developing conditions like diabetes and heart disease, which in turn can affect the health of your feet through poor circulation and neuropathy.
When you’re not using your ligaments, muscles, and tendons in your legs regularly, weakness can also occur. When these structures become too weakened, you’re more likely to develop tendon injuries, flat feet, and chronic pain conditions. Tip: When you have to do a lot of walking, wear your sensible shoes for the physical activity and change into your heels for your dinner our or meeting with a client.
The right shoes can improve your overall physical health
If any of these symptoms and conditions sound familiar to you, then wearing the right kind of shoes could be beneficial for both your feet and your overall health. So what are the right shoes to wear?
It’s best to save the high heels for special occasions and choose comfort over fashion, particularly looking for:
- A rounded toe that gives your toes plenty of room
- Good arch support
- Low chunky heels or flats
- A soft material that doesn’t restrict your foot
If you run regularly or take part in sporting activities or dance, always make sure you’re wearing the appropriate footwear designed for that purpose.
You should also have your feet measured at least once a year because physical changes can affect the size and shape of your feet, meaning that you might be squeezing your feet into shoes a size too small.
If you struggle with painful feet and toes, call us at the Foot, Ankle & Leg Vein Center or book your consultation online.
Dr. Gold and Dr. Schoenhaus have practice locations in Boynton Beach and Boca Raton