As a practicing Orange County podiatrist in California for over 35 years, I have seen the positive effects of well- designed, well-fitting shoe on a person’s overall general health. Wearing proper shoes during various activities can offer many benefits. Pain-free feet can allow a person to participate in walking and other physical activities. It is a proven fact that regular exercise and an active life style can increase circulation, improve heart and lung function, lower cholesterol and may lower blood pressure.
Let’s get the “evil shoes” out of the way- so my clergymen states-we can concentrate on the good. Shoes that are bad for the feet:
Women have always been attracted to pointed-toe shoes-and this includes men as well who like to wear boots. Shoes that come to a point can cause a host of foot problems including hammertoes, bunions, corns, calluses and neuromas (nerve pain and inflammation in a specific nerve in the foot).
Flip-flops create instability when walking. The lack of an arch support can lead to pain in the heels and chronic problems such as plantar fasciitis (painful heels) and Achilles tendonitis. When wearing flip-flops the foot is virtually unprotected which makes the foot susceptible to injury-broken toes and metatarsals, sprained ankles, shin splints and foot pain in the heel.
Back-less shoes and clogs
Ironically clogs are very popular in the medical community. From a functional standpoint, these shoes can cause a number of problems. Since the toes tend to grab the ground, undue stress is placed on the digits when wearing backless shoes. This often leads to hammertoes and corns.
Now let’s talk about the “good’ shoes. An ideal walking shoe or sneaker should have the following features:
A slight rise on the bottom of the shoe in the area of the metatarsal creates a mild rocking motion, which assists in stability and balance. A note of caution-some shoe companies have created a shoe with an exaggerated rocker-bottom sole. I do not recommend this shoe type as an exaggerated rocker-bottom can have the opposite effect, causing balance problems and instability when walking.
As the foot hits the ground, it tends to spread out and flatten (called pronation). Pronation helps the foot adapt to various ground surfaces. Excessive pronation can cause many foot problems including, bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, foot fatigue and shin splints. A shoe with a good medial support counters the pronation effect.
• Wide toe box-
If the toes have sufficient “wiggle-room,”
• Moderate heel elevation-
A shoe with a ½ inch heel rise alleviates pressure from the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.
A final thought on good versus evil-as it is true in life-sometimes evil wins out. You have been great on your diet yet that chocolate cake looks so tantalizing that you give in to temptation. The same hold true with shoes-go ahead and wear that great looking, totally impractical shoe-as long as you wear it for short periods of time. Then slip your feet back into the “good shoe”-so once again good will prevail over evil.
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The Foot Pain Center was established in 1974 by Dr. Marc Spitz. An all-inclusive practice, we offers comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic medical care for patients with general foot and toenail disorders, diabetic problems and peripheral neuropathy.