Flip-flops, stilettos, running shoes — not all shoes are created equal. If you've ever removed your heels after a hard day at work or your tennis shoes after a long run to find blisters, you know that the fit of your shoe can impact your feet.
Ill-fitting footwear can throw your body out of alignment and put extra stress not only on your feet, but also on your knees, hips, and back. Shoes that lack toe room or lift your heel several inches from the ground can negatively affect the joints, tendons, and ligaments of your feet and can cause your upper legs to work harder to compensate.
Wearing the right shoes can reduce foot pain and lower your risk of foot problems down the road. At Concord Podiatry, board-certified podiatrist Dr. David E. Biss helps patients keep their feet and ankles as healthy as possible. If you’re having foot pain, it’s wise to take a look at your shoes to ensure that they’re providing the proper support.
Shoes and foot health
Feet and ankles are often-neglected parts of the body. Most people don’t give their feet a second thought until they begin experiencing aches and pains or other problems. If you have foot pain, the footwear you choose can ease symptoms or make them worse.
Shoes that fit properly are a cornerstone of foot care. Good footwear acts as a cushion and shock absorber and supports your feet, which bear all of your weight when you walk, run, and move about your day. It protects your feet and helps you maintain proper balance and posture so your weight is distributed evenly.
Shoes aren’t to blame for all foot problems. Sometimes the structure of your feet puts you at risk for developing foot issues. However, regularly wearing ill-fitting shoes can set you up for foot problems.
Foot problems related to ill-fitting shoes
The following are common foot problems that can arise from wearing the wrong shoes:
Shoes that are too wide or too small can rub against a sensitive area on your foot. Your body responds by forming a blister. The skin behind this fluid-filled sac is extremely sensitive, making blisters uncomfortable to walk on.
A bunion is a bony bump on the side of your foot at the base of your big toe. Bunions occur when the toe's base moves out of its natural position. This results in a painful and inflammatory protrusion on the side of your foot, and the big toe typically angles toward the other toes rather than pointing straight ahead.
Wearing shoes that are too narrow can contribute to the development of bunions.
Calluses and corns
Your skin defends itself against repeated friction and pressure by forming thick layers of skin cells at the site of irritation. Corns are circular, kernel-like lumps formed by skin cells. They frequently occur on top of or between the toes. Calluses are thick, yellowish, and flat and commonly form on the sole, but they can appear anywhere on the foot.
A hammertoe is when one of the toes develops a claw-like look. The toe curls instead of lying flat and pointing straight ahead due to an abnormal pull in the tendons in your foot. Wearing shoes that are too short can also contribute to this issue.
Plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament) is a common cause of heel pain. High arches and flat feet are the most common culprits, but wearing unsupportive shoes can make heel pain worse.
Plantar fasciitis pain typically occurs with the first steps of the day or after extended periods of inactivity. It can also cause heel spurs, which are calcium deposits that form where the fascia connects to the heel. Ill-fitting shoes can aggravate the issue.
Taking care of your feet
If you’re having foot problems, seeing a podiatrist is the first step to finding a solution and getting relief. Dr. Biss performs a comprehensive evaluation, determines the cause of your foot problems, and recommends the most appropriate course of action.
Depending on the problem, Dr. Biss may recommend custom orthotics (shoe inserts), splints, medication to reduce inflammation, corticosteroid injections, or physical therapy. With some issues, such as bunions, surgery may be the fix you need.
Stop in for a visit to discuss your foot health. We have offices in Plymouth and Concord, New Hampshire. Call the office nearest you today to set up an appointment with Dr. Biss.