There are diverse types of shoes, and some can cause and aggravate various foot and ankle problems. Repeatedly, patients present with various foot problems, that ultimately are caused by the shoes that they are wearing. So you develop a foot pain of some sort, and have no explanation for how it began, look to your shoes first. If a specific pain started a couple of days after wearing a new pair of shoes, look to them as the source of the problem. This is particularly true if you are having a similar pain in the same spot on both feet; the first place to look is at your shoes.
Shoes to look at carefully:
Worn out shoes/ sneakers
Shoes are built to serve a function, apart from preventing us from stepping on broken glass and nails. Their primary goal is to support your feet in a particular manner, so that you can walk in a proper gait. Yes, some shoes are designed particularly for style, and less for support; but even those shoes have certain properties which help propel us. In general, once a shoe begins to “fall apart”, it starts to work against your ability to walk properly. This concept is of greater significance in athletic shoes, and other shoes which attempt to help certain foot types.
Flip flops and very thin sandals
With the passage of time, flip flops and sandals have become an everyday choice for many people, and that is where the problem begins. These shoes offer absolutely no support through the arch and heel. Yes, there are some sandals and flip flops that have an arch support component to them, however, it’s not generally the case. Because they do not support the arch, those who are prone to developing plantar fasciitis, have the problem exacerbated by wearing them.
These types of footwear not only fail to support the arch, but because they are so flexible, they can cause the toes to over stretch, thus putting a lot of pressure on the ball of the feet, resulting in capsulitis, metatarsalgia, or sesamoiditis.
These types of shoes will also cause an array of foot problems over time. Unique to these shoes is achilles tendonitis. For women who wear them on a daily basis, over time, the achilles tendon will begin to shorten. This is the nature of tendons; they adapt to the least amount of stress placed on them. After years of wearing heels, many women will begin to notice that their achilles tendon (the tendon in the back of the heel), will begin to hurt when they are not wearing their heels. Particularly when barefoot, or wearing sandals or flip flops, there will be pain in the back of the heels. This is because the tendon would have shortened to the point, that when barefoot, there becomes such a strain on it, that it begins to hurt simply because it is too tight. In most cases, stretching exercises will not alleviate the problem, especially in older women.
As should be obvious to anyone looking at a stiletto heel, the potential for pain in the ball of the foot is certainly there. Because of the elevation of the heel, most walking pressure is placed on the forefoot. Not only is more weight placed on the ball of the foot, but the angle of the toes relative to the metatarsal bones is increased, long before it should if walking normally.
Believe it or not, there is one condition where a stiletto heel may be of benefit, and that is with plantar fasciitis. How? As mentioned previously, when a woman wears a high heel, that takes the tension off the achilles tendon. Many anatomy experts consider the plantar fascial ligament to essentially be a continuation of the achilles tendon. So by decreasing the tension on the achilles tendon, you end up decreasing the tension on the plantar fascial ligament, which will diminish the pain in plantar fasciitis sufferers.
Ballet shoes have become very fashionable, so many women wear them on a regular basis. The shoe would have better served mankind has it remained the shoe of choice for ballerinas. Once again the problem with this shoe is due to the flimsiness of the sole. Because the sole is extremely flexible, with absolutely no arch support, this shoe is an “accident waiting to happen”, for a number of people. Similar to flip flops, ballet shoes do not control the function of the foot; for many, foot control in a shoe is needed for those who have a foot type that is either too flat, or rigid.
The Way Forward
If you are under the care of a doctor or podiatrist for a condition, and despite trying multiple treatments, your foot is not responding, review the shoes you are wearing. Let’s face it, if you are receiving the best medical treatment known to mankind for your particular problem, but are still wearing shoes that aggravate your type of problem, the chances of you getting better are extremely slim.
For those of you who just cannot give up wearing the shoes you love, even though they may be the source of your foot problem… once small piece of advice, cut back on how often you wear them. Alternating your shoes is not a bad idea as well.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!