Foot pain is a common complaint for folks over the age of 21. Approximately 135 million adults experience foot pain each year, but there are steps you can take to prevent yourself from becoming part of this statistic. Start by paying attention to the shoes that you put on your feet each morning. If you own any of the footwear below, toss it immediately or limit the amount of time that you wear the shoes. Your arches will appreciate the gesture.
High heels can pair with everything from dresses to skinny jeans, but be careful if you wear them regularly. These popular pumps contort your feet into an unnatural position as you walk, and they can even cause your calf muscles or Achilles tendon to shrink. Over time, you may develop a painful condition known as plantar fasciitis, which affects the bottom of your feet and your heels.
If you aren't ready to part with your pumps just yet, try to stick with heels that extend no higher than 1.5 inches from the ground. Consider switching to sneakers or another pair of comfortable shoes when your feet are hidden behind your work desk, and stretch the muscles in your calves and feet daily to avoid cramps and shrinkage. A foot doctor can teach you so that you know you are doing them correctly.
If high heels are bad news for your feet, then ballet flats must be an excellent choice, right? Not exactly. Lower isn't always better, especially if you're sliding your feet into a pair of flimsy flats that don't have any arch support. Ballet flats can cause some of the same issues as high heels, including plantar fasciitis.
Do you wear flats regularly? Talk to a podiatrist about whether over-the-counter inserts are a practical option for your shoes. If the doctor doesn't feel like those will help, then he can order custom-made prescription inserts in your size.
Flip flops let your feet breathe as you show off your pedicure, but their design is similar to a pair of ballet flats. Like ballet flats, flip flops offer minimal arch support. They also fail to support the rest of your foot, so your heels and toes end up flopping all over the place as you walk.
It's important to remember that flip flops don't just put your arches at risk. Your entire foot can get injured while wearing flip flops because your foot is completely exposed. If someone drops something heavy and it hits your foot, the object may crush your bones or penetrate your skin. You may also end up getting an infection if you scratch your feet on debris and fail to treat it properly. If you wear flip flops often, schedule an appointment with a foot expert to make sure that your feet are healthy.
Never wear shoes that don't fit. This includes shoes that are too small, as well as shoes that are too big. Small shoes have an effect similar to what wearers who don high heels experience. Shoes that are too large do not provide adequate support, so your feet move around inside as you walk.
Not sure whether your shoes fit properly or offer an adequate level of arch support? Bring them in to a podiatrist so he can take a look. If your shoes don't fit well, the doctor can offer suggestions about the sizes and styles that work best for your feet.
Sometimes arch pain resolves on its own after you remove your shoes or rest for a bit. If the pain lingers for days—or even weeks—then you may need medical attention. Schedule an appointment with a podiatrist and explain your symptoms, even ones that you feel are not connected to the arch pain. The foot doctor will examine your arches and recommend a treatment plan designed to alleviate your pain.
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