Beware of shoes with high heels and pointed toes!
When we are selecting shoes we usually opt for the ones that look nicer, have high heels and pointy toes and are stiff, rather than shoes which are suitable to our foot anatomy. But while we try to look nice we can be jeopardizing our foot health because these kinds of shoes can cause many serious conditions from a twisted ankle to heel spurs that cause chronic foot pain, bone deformations, pinched nerves and calcification in the joints!
During the summer months many attractive shoes are on display in the shop windows. However since most women are more interested in looking good, comfort is a feature that is pushed to the background when it comes to shoes. On the other hand our feet bear the entire load that is comprised of our skeletal system and our muscles. 50 percent of this load weighs on our toes. Especially when we choose to wear high-heeled shoes and shoes with pointed toes even more of the weight falls on the feet and poses a serious threat to foot health!
Acibadem International Hospital Orthopedics and Traumatology Specialist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mehmet Uğur Özbaydar explained the 5 disorders that are caused by high heeled and pointy-toed shoes and the points of caution to avoid having these problems.
THE 5 DISORDERS THAT ARE CAUSED BY SELECTING THE WRONG SHOES
1- Deformation of the great toe (Hallux Valgus)
Hallux valgus is a deformity that develops due to the protrusion, which forms on the bone between the first toe and the metatarsal when the first toe is displaced towards the second toe. The most important cause of this disorder is wearing tight pointed toe shoes for a long period of time. In addition to aesthetic problems, Hallux Valgus also causes intense pain on the front part of the foot.
2- Compression of the nerves between the toes (Morton’s neuroma)
Morton’s neuroma is the thickening that is caused by compression of the nerves between the 3rd and 4th metatarsal. Wearing narrow shoes that compress the metatarsal and repeated trauma in this area can be the cause of this condition. Patients usually complain about pain, burning and numbness in the front part of the foot.
3- Calcification in the big toe (Hallux rigidus)
This is calcification that develops between the toe and metatarsal bone on the big toe. Shoes that cause repeated strain and weight on this joint, constant crouching or standing on tip toe may enable this condition to occur more easily. This condition causes pain and limited movement in the big toe.
A hammer toe is a deformity of the proximal interphalangeal joint of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th toe causing it to be permanently bent down. Genetic factors, trauma and shoes with narrow tips that cause toes to be squeezed together can cause hammertoe. The deformity starts out being fairly flexible but hardens over time with calcification as the disorder progresses. This condition leads to complaints of pain, bunions on the top part of toes and limited movement.
5- Heel spurs
In this condition there is a band-shaped fibrosis that spans from the front of the foot to the heel called plantar fascia. Heels balance the entire load of the body. But when the wrong shoes are worn for extended periods, small inflammations can occur on the fascia. This condition is called plantar fasciitis. The most typical symptom of this disorder is pain that develops when you first start out walking in the morning. The pain subsides as you continue walking but increases in intensity when you remain standing for a long time towards the evening hours. The heel spur is the development of a spur shaped deposit that forms where the plantar fascia adheres to the heel. This causes heel spur pain. 1 out of every 10 women who go to clinics with foot pain are diagnosed with heel spurs.
WHAT IS AN IDEAL SHOE?
Acibadem International Hospital Orthopedics and Traumatology Specialist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mehmet Uğur Özbaydar described how ideal shoes should be as follows:
- The heel should be between 2-3 centimeters: Excessively high heels increase the weight borne by the front part of feet. When 2-3 cm heels are increased by 3 times (8-9 cm) the weight that bears down on the front part of the foot increases 7 times. Increased strain on the front part of feet can cause inflammation and pain in the bones and nerves surrounding this area. Chronic strain can also cause stress fractures.
- Heels should be thick: Spiked heels cause the entire load to be focused on one point and can cause sprained ankles. Thick heels distribute weight more evenly.
- Shoes should conform to the shape of your feet and fit properly: Wearing shoes that are too small can cause blisters, calluses, deformities in bones and arthritis in the joints. When purchasing new shoes the length and width of should be measured while standing and towards the end of the day if possible.
- Shoes should be wide in the front and made of material that is soft enough to take on the shape of your foot: Shoes that have pointy toes compress the front part of your feet. In time you can develop deformities like hallux valgus, hammertoe or pinched nerves.
- The sole should not be too hard: Hard soles limit movement and distort normal walking patterns.
- Shoes should be flexible in the right places and have an inner sole that supports the outer sole and the foot: Flat shoes do not support the inner arch of the foot. Excessive strain on the soft band shaped tissue (plantar fascia) on the sole of your feet can cause tearing, inflammation and eventually heel spurs.
- Shoes should be leather: You should choose leather shoes because they are better ventilated, do not cause your feet to perspire and conform to your foot shape better. Hard materials cause bone deformities and can lead to blisters and pain.