According statistics quoted on The College of Podiatry's website, between 75 and 80 percent of adults struggle with some type of foot problem. Many people don't realize that the main reason why they're experiencing foot pain, deformities and other foot-related problems is because of the shoes that they wear.
Too Tight Shoes
You can probably relate to the feeling of disappointment when you find the perfect shoe, but it's a size too small. Unfortunately, some people go ahead and purchase shoes that are too small or too tight for their feet anyway. Wearing a shoe that's not your size on a regular basis can cause a number of foot problems, including corns, calluses, bunions and hammertoes. Diabetic patients can experience nerve damage and sores that resist healing when they wear too-tight shoes day after day.
High Heel Hell
It's no wonder why women are four times more likely to have problems with their feet, when you consider the high heels that they often wear to be stylish. Most women will tell you that they have a time limit for how long they can walk in their high heels. Some shoes can get them through about six hours at work while others only allow the average woman to walk around for about an hour before her feet are calling out for help.
If you're a woman who can relate to this, you should know the greater implications of wearing uncomfortable high heeled shoes for long periods of time every day. The taller the heel, the more strain on your feet, including the tendons and ligaments that run from the toe to the heel. Inflammation of that tissue can cause plantar fasciitis or heel spurs. The toes bend into unnatural positions, which can cause bunions. Gravity causes the feet to push down into the hard front box of the shoe, which over time could cause nerve damage in the toes. Also, many senior women who have worn uncomfortable high heels all of their lives report osteoarthritic problems.
Flip Flops (Mostly a Flop)
Flip flops are another major concern for podiatrists. Many people wear flip flops because they're easy to slip on and seem like they will also be easy on the feet, but the opposite is true. Most flip flops contain little to no support for your feet. There's a single thong at the front that requires you to clench your toes together in order to keep the shoe on that puts added pressure on the bones, muscles and tendons. There's no arch support, so it could cause flat feet. The lack of cushioning could cause stress fractures and heel spurs or plantar fasciitis. The longer you walk in flip flops, the more likely you'll begin to experience pain, which is why podiatrists strongly advise against wearing them for long walks, runs or exercise.
When It's Time to See the Podiatrist
Evaluate the shoes in your closet to see if they may be the culprits behind your foot troubles. Wear more sensible, well-designed shoes and orthotic supports. You should see a podiatrist whenever you're experiencing a persistent problem with your feet, whether it's something minor like a corn or something more advanced, like plantar fasciitis. The clearest indication that it's time to set an urgent appointment is if you're in pain or have problems walking properly. Diabetic patients should see a podiatrist once or twice per year for regular checkups. Remember that your feet are your foundation. Don't put off getting the care that you need to keep them healthy and strong.