Correct fitting shoes vital for good foot health
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.