Avoid footwear failure

 

In the middle of winter, your shoes of choice right now may be snowboots and Uggs. But with Groundhog Day approaching on Feb. 2nd, we hope it won't be long before you can get outdoors and enjoy warm-weather spots such as Navy Pier, the Brookfield Zoo or Lemont's Centennial Pool.

 

As the seasons change, so do many people's footwear. Unfortunately, at DM Foot and Ankle Associates, Dr. Diani Emini and I see many patients with foot pain or injuries from wearing the wrong shoes.

 

Here's a look at a few popular shoe types, and some of the ways they can harm the feet.

 

Ballet flats

Problem: These simple slip-ons may feel comfy, but they don't support the feet and can lead to pain.  They lack arch support and typically have very little insole padding.  People think because it is not a heeled shoe, it is better for them, but this super flat shoe is sometimes just as bad.

Solution: We have dressy fit orthotics that can work in the littlest of shoes.

 

Stilettos

Problem:  These tall, trendy shoes are stylish. But the price of looking good has its downside:  the narrow forefoot cramps those toes and can cause worsening of bunions and hammertoes.  The skinny heel does not offer much in balance and throws all the weight of the foot on the ball – causing neuromas and other joint inflammatory conditions. 

Solution:  A chunky heel or wedged heel are better optionsbecause they have more surface area and re-distribute the weight more evenly. Don't be fooled – these shoes still place stress on the ball of the foot, but the risk or tripping or spraining an ankle may be reduced.  Save the stilettos for those special occasions only.

 

Worn-out shoes

Problem:  Those pair of running shoes you’ve had for years or the old Chuck Taylors you keep wearing can make existing foot problems worse.  Just because they look OK on the outside doesn't mean the inner lining and overall structure of the shoe are still in good condition.  Most likely, they are worn down and are not offering you any shock absorption or support.

Solution: Thow away that too-old pair of shoes. If you need advice on finding a new pair, simply ask one of us at DM Foot and Ankle, or visit a store that specializes in running or walking shoes.

 

Flip flops

Problem:  These easy to slip-on sandals lack support, and your feet have to work extra hard to keep them on.  Over time, these can cause foot pain or tendon strain.

Solution: Choose a pair of sporty, fitted sandals that have a built-in arch support with a rigid sole.  While you shouldn’t go walking long distances in these, they are a great alternative to those rubber thongs that so many people love.

 

By Michelle Kim

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