Are your shoes causing you foot and ankle pain? Your shoes may be doing more damage than you think. High, thin heels increase the risk of stumbling and falling, and if worn for long periods can lead to pain in the foot, ankle, knee and low back. Pain from ill-fitting shoes can be avoided. Here are a few things you can do to prevent the pain, or relieve pain if you are already suffering.
-Accurate fit. Believe it or not, people sometimes buy shoes that don’t fit properly. If the shoes are too small, your foot may be jammed into the shoe, which causes discomfort. If the shoes are too big, you have to overcompensate your walking to ensure the shoes don’t fall off. If you are wearing shoes that are too narrow, the sides of the shoe are pushing into your foot muscles and after a little walking, you are going to start feeling uncomfortable.
-Keep heels below 4cm. Heels that are higher make it difficult to walk. If you need to wear dressy shoes at work, consider finding stylish flats. You may even be able to find some great orthotic shoes that are professional and also comfortable.
-Custom inserts for support. This is a great way to provide support, especially when you are on your feet for long periods of time. The insoles help to give your foot a cushion while you walk. It is also great for helping low back and knee pain.
-High heels OK for only a short time. Make sure the heel is wide instead of thin, because there is less support for your feet. Rounded toe shoes are better than pointed shoes because there is more room for your toes to move and breathe. If you are going to be walking all day, carry a pair of folding flats that you can keep in your purse and switch out easily.
-Strengthen ankle muscles & joints. By keeping your ankle muscles strong, you are giving your body the support it needs. Stretching and exercises are important, especially if you are putting a lot of stress on your feet.
Check out Arnold J. Weil, M.D. discussing high heel shoes on Fox 5 Atlanta and the dangers involved in wearing them: