Don't Let Foot Pain Cramp Your Style

Wellness Update - - Healthwatchmd - with Dr. Randy Martin

Dr. Randy Martin: In our mod­ern so­ci­ety, we are con­stantly on our feet, mean­ing sore­ness at the end of the day, par­tic­u­larly if you wear cer­tain types of shoes. I met with Dr. Charles Haen­del, a po­di­a­trist at Pied­mont Moun­tain­side Hospi­tal, to learn more about how to keep feet healthy and pain-free.

Did you know that 25 per­cent of the bones in your body can be found in your feet? The foot is com­prised of 26 bones, 38 mus­cles and 108 lig­a­ments. Given that they sup­port our en­tire body weight, it is im­per­a­tive to take good care of our feet.

Be­fore the days of mod­ern so­ci­ety, hu­man feet were adapted to walking on softer, un­even sur­faces with a ball-of-the-foot strike pat­tern.

“Evo­lu­tion­ar­ily, our feet were not made to walk on hard, flat sur­faces,” says Charles Haen­del, M.D., a po­di­a­trist at Pied­mont Moun­tain­side Hospi­tal. “Now we are on con­crete, as­phalt or ter­razzo floors, so we have adap­tively changed our gait to a prom­i­nent heel strike.”

In our mod­ern so­ci­ety, Dr. Haen­del sees more women with foot prob­lems.

“When women go through their child­bear­ing years, the preg­nancy hor­mone pro­ges­terone re­laxes lig­a­ments and the lon­gi­tu­di­nal arches. As a re­sult, [women’s] shoe sizes change,” he says.

Dr. Haen­del adds that many women are wear­ing the wrong size shoe and choos­ing fash­ion over com­fort, which can lead to foot pain now and big­ger prob­lems down the road.

The Choice Be­tween Fash­ion and Foot Health

“High heels cre­ate not only foot prob­lems and de­mand an un­nat­u­ral po­si­tion of the foot, but they cre­ate struc­tural prob­lems as well,” says Dr. Haen­del. “Rheuma­tol­o­gists and or­tho­pe­dists have mul­ti­ple pa­pers to show that high heels can de­stroy the knee pro­gres­sively.”

So how can we make stylish and safe footwear choices? Dr.Haen­del says to re­mem­ber the fol­low­ing cri­te­ria: • The shoe should prop­erly fit to your

foot and sup­port your arch. • Buy mod­er­ately high heels – not sky-high stilet­tos. Pick heels that do not cause your toes to con­tract or Achilles ten­don to tighten. • Shoes should be com­fort­able when you try them on. Don’t be­lieve that you can “break them in.”

Dr. Randy Martin: Given that our feet carry our en­tire body weight and make up a large por­tion of our os­teo-struc­ture, it is cru­cial to wear proper shoes. Re­mem­ber Dr. Haen­del’s tips next time you are shoe shop­ping and if you are strug­gling with per­sis­tent foot pain, it may be time to see your doc­tor.

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