Cor­rect fit­ting shoes vi­tal for good foot health

Waitaki Herald - - ADVERTISING FEATURE - Dvis­

Com­pris­ing of 26 bones, 33 joints and over 120 mus­cles, nerves, and lig­a­ments, in­clud­ing eight ma­jor mus­cles, the foot is a com­plex but rel­a­tively small part of the body.

Given that the feet are re­spon­si­ble for car­ry­ing the en­tire body around all day it is no won­der that so many peo­ple de­velop prob­lems with their feet.

Choos­ing to pur­chase and wear cor­rect fit­ting footwear not only prom­ises com­fort in the short term, it also plays a large part in the health of your feet for the rest of your life.

Many of the foot con­di­tions seen to­day can be ei­ther di­rectly re­lated to or brought on by wear­ing poorly de­signed and ill-fit­ting footwear.

What started out as dis­com­fort may go on to be­come ac­tual med­i­cal con­di­tions. Th­ese con­di­tions can be ex­tremely painful and at their worst may re­quire surgery and will most cer­tainly im­pact on your abil­ity to walk and move around freely.

There are al­ter­na­tive footwear choices avail­able that pre­vent foot pain and mis­ery where the shoes are de­signed with an un­der­stand­ing of the anatomy of the foot, the spe­cific ar­eas that need sup­port, sta­bil­ity, and free­dom, and the risks of ig­nor­ing th­ese needs.

Po­ten­tial Prob­lems Caused or Ex­ac­er­bated by In­cor­rect Fit­ting Footwear

A bunion is an ab­nor­mal­ity in which the big toe points to­wards the other toes, usu­ally ac­com­pa­nied by pain and swelling. Ill fit­ting footwear can cause bunions. So­lu­tions in­clude pads, medicine for the pain, and or­thotics (spe­cialised shoe in­serts), and proper footwear.

Treat­ment for more ex­treme cases in­volves surgery to re­align the bones. Ex­cess bone may be re­moved and some­times changes are made in the sur­round­ing tis­sue. Re­cov­ery can take up to three months, but it may take as many as six months be­fore the pa­tient can re­turn to wear­ing regular shoes.

The plan­tar fas­cia is a stretch of tis­sue that runs along the bot­tom of the foot, con­nect­ing the heel to the toes, and one of its func­tions is to ab­sorb the shock to the foot when walk­ing. If an in­di­vid­ual wears shoes with very thin soles, this tis­sue has to deal the im­pact.

Plan­tar Fasci­itis is a painful con­di­tion that can also be caused by ill-fit­ting shoes.

The wear­ing of high heels which can ac­tu­ally shorten the Achilles ten­don, which in turn, can put ad­di­tional stress and ten­sion on the plan­tar fas­cia. Treat­ments can in­clude a boot or splint to wear while sleep­ing, phys­i­cal ther­apy, or or­thotics.

Only un­der dire cir­cum­stances will surgery to de­tach the plan­tar fas­cia be per­formed.

Ham­mer toes are of­ten seen in peo­ple who wear very high heels or shoes with pointed toes that crowd the feet which can cause an un­nat­u­ral flex­ing of the toes that can be­come per­ma­nent as the ten­dons con­tract and make the toe curl un­nat­u­rally.

This usu­ally oc­curs in the toes right next to the big toe and can cause dif­fi­cul­ties. Move­ment of the stiff toe(s) can cause pain and the raised joint(s) can rub against the in­side of shoes.

Metatarsal­gia is a painful in­flam­ma­tion of a nerve be­tween the foot bones that can be brought about by ham­mer toes, bunions, or by wear­ing very high heeled shoes.

It can be treated by ic­ing, or­thotics, or with a pres­sure ban­dage. Only in ex­treme cir­cum­stances is surgery to re­align the bones con­sid­ered.

Best foot for­ward: Feet have a life-long job, and it’s wise to look af­ter them with shoes that give them proper sup­port.

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