Everyone wants to stay in fashion, but sometimes that comes with a price: comfort. There is no better example of substituting comfort for style than footwear.
Every day men and women cram their feet in shoes that don’t fit correctly. This ultimately leads to the question, why do my feet hurt? (Figure 1)
There are many reasons why your feet may hurt including: bunions, corns and calluses, heel pain(Figure 2), Morton’s neuroma (Figure 3, 4), hammertoe, ingrown nails and plantar warts.
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Bunions are bony bumps that form on the joint at the base of the big toe.
Pressure on the big toe joint causes the toe to push outwards and turn toward the second toe.
This creates pressure on the tissue surrounding the joint, causing it to become swollen and tender.
Although they can develop without a recognizable cause, bunions are typically the result of poorly fitting shoes.
Like bunions (Figure 6), corns and calluses are also caused by pressure on the skin of the foot.
Calluses refer to an accumulation of dead skin cells that harden over an area of the foot. Usually presenting on the big or fifth toe, calluses form to protect the foot against excessive pressure and friction. Calluses are usually caused by shoes that are too small or heels that are too high (Figure 5).
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Other factors include obesity and abnormalities in gait cycle.
Another common foot problem is heel pain. This type of foot pain can be felt when standing still or walking.
The most common type of heel pain is an inflammation of the connective tissue on the sole of the foot where it attaches to the heel bone. Often, the best way to alleviate heel pain is to stretch and utilize medication to reduce swelling.
Morton’s neuroma (Figure 3, 4) is another common problem for patients that experience foot pain. This type of foot ailment is caused by a pinched nerve. When toes are squeezed too tightly, the nerve responds by building extra tissue in the nerve. In other words, the tissue around the nerves that lead to the toes thickens. This creates burning pain in the foot.
One of several toe deformities is a condition called hammertoe. This type of deformity describes a permanent sideways bend in the middle toe joint which is usually caused by heels that are too high or shoes that are too short. When your toe is forced against the front of the shoe, an unnatural bend is created. Unlike a bunion (Figure 6), this type of deformity can affect any toe. Pain usually affects the prominent bony area on the top of the toe. Finally, a painful foot ailment that plagues many people is ingrown nails. These refer to toenails whose corners dig into the skin. Ingrown nails are typically the result of shoe pressure or improper nail trimming. As you can see, most of these problems are the result of shoes that don’t fit properly. So next time you are shopping for shoes, consider your feet. Ultimately, walking without pain is pretty fashionable as well!
The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society outlined the following 10 suggestions for choosing proper footwear:
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