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Before You Slide on those Holiday Heels…

By Raines Foot Clinic –

Women love shoes. Whether it’s high heels or sandals, shoes have become a fashion staple. In fact, more and more women are trading in comfort for style when it comes to their shoes, a mistake that could cost them. A survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association indicates that 42% of women say they would wear a shoe even if it hurts if it looked good. There is new research that suggests women as young as 25 may suffer permanent damage from wearing unsupportive shoes like high heels or flip flops for extended periods of time.

One of the worst shoes you can wear is high heels. Anything with a heel over two inches can cause a problem with your feet and ankles. In fact, women who wear high heels on a regular basis may actually begin walking in an elevated position while barefoot. There are many risks to wearing high heels on a daily basis. Risks such as stress fractures, ankle sprains from falling, and hammertoes are common. Back pain is also a risk because of the abnormal body position needed to walk in them.

While all high heels can be harmful to your feet, there are some types that are worse than others. For example, spike heels put an abnormal amount of pressure on the ball of your foot and could cause acute pain in that area and hammertoes from the abnormal positioning. Pointy toed pumps can cause neuroma, an inflammation between the third and fourth toe. Neuromas are generally treated with injections, physical therapy and surgery. Most doctors agree that high heels can be worn, but should be worn in moderation only. Daily wear will cause the most significant damage.

High heel tips:
. Banish pointy toed shoes from your wardrobe!
. While wearing heels to the office, take them off while sitting at your desk.
. Invest in over the counter or custom made gel cushions.
. Sky high heels combined with a pointy toe can throw you off balance and lead to falls.

Are there other shoes to be wary of wearing?
High heels aren’t the only type of footwear that can be harmful to your feet. Ballet flats are just as bad. They don’t offer the foot any support or cushioning and don’t allow it to function the way it should. Wearing ballet flats can also lead to tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. As an alternative to ballet flats, choose a shoe that resembles a ballet flat, but offers more support. Remember, if you can fold up your shoe and put it in your purse, it’s not offering you enough support.

Another popular shoe that can cause foot problems is flip flops. While flip flops are certainly convenient, they were never intended for everyday wear. They don’t offer your arch any support or protection, which leaves your feet vulnerable to injury. Some common foot and ankle problems that are associated with flip flops include tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and sprained and strained ankles. Your best bet is to save your flip flops for the beach and walking poolside and stick to sandals with a little more support for everyday wear.

What is the best type of shoe to wear on an everyday basis?
. A thicker sole with good shock absorption
. Limit heel to 1 to 1.5 inches
. Arch support
. Wide toe box
. Laces or buckle closure also add support

You don’t have to sacrifice style in the name of comfort. There are a number of shoes on the market that offer both. Just remember, the shoes that you wear now, could have an impact on your health in the future.

If you are experiencing any pain or numbness in your feet, Raines Foot Clinic can help you with this and any other podiatric needs. For an appointment or consultation, call 731-885-0220 in Union City or 731-286-2139 in Dyersburg.

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