Wearing the wrong shoes can affect your foot health and your overall well-being. In addition to causing foot pain and other conditions, improper footwear can lead to pain and deformities in your lower back and legs. Wearing ill-fitting and poorly made shoes can limit your ability to move freely, and it can also affect your overall quality of life.
Understanding how to select shoes that protect your feet can prevent long-term damage to your feet, legs, and lower back. Marshall L. Lukoff, DPM, FAAFS, of Foot Care Specialists, PC, in Quincy and Dedham, Massachusetts, is an expert in helping patients maintain foot health with the selection of proper footwear. Dr. Lukoff guides patients in identifying the right type of shoes to minimize discomfort and compensate for individual conditions and foot structure.
You can protect your foot health and still wear shoes that are attractive and fashionable. Consider these characteristics when looking for shoes that will keep your feet healthy.
The construction of a shoe can have a big impact on your foot health. Consider these factors when choosing and wearing shoes:
If possible, get shoes with breathable materials, such as leather. Breathable materials can help reduce foot sweating and blisters. Furthermore, avoid shoes that have exposed seams or materials that can rub against the back of your heel or across the top of your foot.
Shoes that conform to the natural shape of your foot are less likely to cause damage. In an ideal shape, the ball of your foot should rest in the widest part of the shoe.
Look for shoes that have good arch support. If possible, limit your use of flip-flops, ballet flats, and other shoes that flex and bend easily and typically have no arch support. Wearing these kinds of shoes too much can increase your chances of developing plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis.
The right kind
Not all shoes are created equally. If you’re selecting running shoes, look for ones that fit your arch type and biomechanics. And, remember that running shoes can lose their capacity to absorb shock before they look worn. Running shoes should typically be replaced every 350-500 miles.
Watch the heel height
While most women know that high heels can cause foot conditions, many still find it hard to say no to a sleek pair of stilettos. High heels typically put much of the pressure on the toes. This can lead to the development of corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, and hammertoes.
Your entire body then has to compensate for the abnormal position it must take due to the high heels. Wearing sky-high heels can also lead to an increased risk of low back pain, osteoarthritis of the knees, ankle sprains, and falls.
High-heeled shoes that are styled so that they don’t drop drastically from the heel to the footbed can help relieve some of the pain and pressure on the front of your feet. Thicker heels can distribute your weight more evenly, so you can avoid the feeling of walking on stilts. Furthermore, heels with a wider toe box can reduce the amount of pressure placed on your toes.
Get a proper fit
The best shoes for your feet start with a proper fit. Wearing ill-fitting shoes can cause foot pain, deformity, and impact your quality of life. Unfortunately, few of us take the time to ensure we’re wearing the right size. One study found that 63-72% of people wear improperly sized shoes.
When shopping for shoes, remember that sizing can vary among manufacturers. Wearing a size 9 in one brand may be the equivalent of size 8.5 in another brand. Trying on shoes before you purchase them can ensure that you’re wearing shoes that fit properly no matter what number they’re sized. A proper fit should allow .25 to .5 inches of space between the end of the shoe and your longest toe.
To avoid problems, you should get your feet sized regularly. Feet can change in size as you age or because of injuries. Furthermore, feet can swell due to medical conditions and medications.
To find out more about the types of shoes that are the best for your feet, book an appointment online or over the phone with Foot Care Specialists, PC today.