We all know the pain of high heels after a long day or the soreness of walking several miles in flats. But what are our shoes actually doing to our feet — and which shoes are the ones we really should be wearing?
Wearing heels shifts your weight to the balls of your feet, which puts pressure on your foot. This also creates a balance problem: It forces your knees and hips forward, hurting your back and legs. Wearing these shoes can cause: hyperextension, ankle sprains, midfoot fractures, neuromas,pinched nerves, bunions and hammertoes.
Wedges also have heels, which puts pressure on your foot and juts your body forward. But the heels tend to have more cushioning, plus they often have platforms which protect the ball of your foot and reduce the incline. This helps with balancing. Wearing these shoes can cause: Hyperextension, ankle sprains, midfoot fractures, neuromas, pinched nerves, bunions and hammertoes.
Depending on the heel height, these can cause similar issues to stilettos. Keeping heels to two inches or below is best. There’s a rule of thumb: 25% of your body weight gets increased for every inch that you go, in terms of your body weight on the front of the foot. But in booties, the material around the ankle helps hold the foot steady, putting you at less risk for injuries. When you incorporate the ankle into the shoe, you add stability. Wearing these shoes can cause: hyperextension, bunions and hammertoes.
If the heels are high, you’re going to have the same issues as with stilettos — hyperextension of the back, pressure on the balls of your feet and lack of balance. But the casing around the leg creates more awareness of the leg in general, which can help with stability. Wearing these shoes can cause: hyperextension, midfoot fractures, neuromas, pinched nerves, bunions and hammertoes.
There is such a thing as too flat. Shoes that are too flat don’t provide adequate arch support, cushioning or shock absorption, which those with flat feet need. However, flats are flexible and cause the muscles to work harder, making them stronger — that’s a good thing. Another problem: There’s a higher risk of the sole being pierced by a foreign object. Wearing these shoes can cause: inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains, stress fractures and external injuries (e.g. stepping on a nail).
These sneakers have a thicker sole than flats, so they do provide a bit of shock absorption and cushioning. For those who do need extra cushioning or arch support, Converse-style sneakers allow you to add extra support internally (to a certain degree). They’re also very flexible — the soft canvas exterior can be more comfortable for those suffering from bunions and hammertoes. The material also protects your foot from the environment. Wearing these shoes can cause: inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains and stress fractures.
Too much cushion is not the best thing, either. When you have a lot of cushion, you’re not getting the foot-brain feedback that allows you to sense the ground. These shoes are ideal for forward motion, i.e. running, walking, jogging (not hiking, dancing, cycling, etc). Wearing these shoes can cause: chronic stress injuries, particularly to the heel.
Most jandals are too flat, too thin and too open. This exposes the foot to the environment and doesn’t provide arch support or cushioning. The thong that sits between your toes is also dangerous as it forces your toe muscles to over-grip. Plus, when your big toe hangs off the flip-flop, you increase your risk for toe fractures. Wearing these shoes can cause: inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains, fractures and external injuries (e.g. stepping on a nail).
Rain can cause a moist environment, plus gumboots tend to be made of Latex or other thick, non-breathable materials. You sort of walk more like a Stormtrooper, so you just might get more fatigue from walking in them. The top of the boot can also rub uncomfortably against your calf. Wearing these shoes can cause: mould, fungus, bacteria, wart viruses and blisters.
For more information or advice on footwear and your feet, see The Podiatrist
With Summer around the corner, cracked heels are a common foot problem that involves very dry skin on the heels of the feet that can, at times, look very much like calluses. If not properly cared for the skin might eventually become dry enough to crack, creating fissures. While cracked heels are uncomfortable and unattractive fissures can be downright unhealthy as they can lead to development of infection, particularly since the feet are in almost constant contact with the ground. This condition can become quite painful, especially when standing or moving around, and if the fissures are deep enough they may even begin to bleed.
While some people have diabetes or very dry skin—both of which make skin prone to flaking and cracking—other cases of cracked heels are caused by external factors. There are several factors that increase the odds of developing this condition: walking barefoot or in flip-flops for extended periods of time, cold and dry winter weather, dehydration/insufficient water intake, routinely taking very hot showers or baths, using harsh soaps, and excessive pressure on the heels of the feet, which causes increased friction between the heel and ground surfaces. It’s important to note that being excessively overweight or obese will increase your chances of developing cracked heels or making the condition worse.
Fortunately, this condition can usually be treated at home with a little bit of time, patience, and care. Giving your feet a little extra TLC is best done right before bed so that they have time to absorb the moisturizing elements as much as possible.
Start by soaking your feet in warm water for 10-15 minutes or until the skin has softened, then gently slough the dead, dry skin from your heels with a pumice stone. Take special care around any cracks or fissure. Take your time with this step; you want to remove as much dry skin as possible without causing yourself pain or damaging tissues. Once you have finished both feet gently dry off with a towel and apply a thick moisturizer, and remember, you can use this moisturizer in the morning as well even though you won’t be performing the whole routine. It’s best to buy a very thick, unscented cream with glycerin and/or aloe as a main ingredient. Put on a comfortable pair of socks and go to bed. Be sure to repeat this routing nightly until your condition heals.
If your cracked heels DON’T improve with this treatment however, and you know you are not diabetic or dehydrated, then you will need to make an appointment with The Podiatrist to have the condition treated. Because cracked heels can lead to fissures and infection they need to be addressed as soon as possible. The Podiatrist will like treat the condition the same way you did, but with more potent tools. The Podiatrist will also probably give you very practical types for self-care such as performing regular maintenance on your feet, upgrading your footwear, using heel cups to protect the skin from friction and/or purchasing insoles to cushion your feet as you walk.
While cracked heels should not be considered a medical emergency they should be treated before more serious complications arise.
We have a great range of foot care products which can help keep your feet looking great for the summer.
Nobody loves their jandals more than us Kiwis. As the warmer weather approaches (we hope), we start digging out the jandals.
They’re so easy and breezy, such an obvious choice, especially when summer reaches its peak and the holidays are in full swing.
But the next time you reach into the closet and pull out your favorite pair, be aware: You could be opening a Pandora’s box of podiatry problems.
Your favorite sassy and affordable flats are an unstable form of footwear, known to wreak havoc on arches, heels and toes, says The Podiatrist.
It’s a disaster waiting to happen. And sure, many people make it through just fine. But the shoes are a problem.
Here are the of wearing the favourite Kiwi fashion accessory and the risks and some tips
Tension for the toes: Wearing jandals may feel like the next-best thing to going barefoot, but your feet are working harder than you think. Jandals force a change in your walking stride. With each step, the toes pull down on the shoe to stabilize the foot against the ground. Your foot has to step forward a little quicker. It’s trying to keep the flip-flop on. The result, is toe pain and stubbed toes.
Bound for blisters: The classic jandal features two straps sprouting from between the first two toes. Everyone dislikes how the rubbing triggers blisters. Problem is, there’s no other place for toes to hang on to the sandal.
Arch of no triumph: Spend too much time walking in jandals, and the muscles that hold up the foot’s arch start to fatigue. Arch pain comes when those muscles change the way they function just to keep you moving along. Runners, hyper-fast walkers and heavier folks will feel this more often.
Plant this: About 15 percent of all adult foot injuries involve plantar fasciitis, that awful pain that comes from the tissue stretching from your heel, through the arch to the toes. It’s impossible to ban jandals, especially in the tropical environment, so if you’re going to the beach, wear your jandals, but don’t take your four kilometre morning walk in jandals. Don’t walk around the Malls doing Christmas shopping in jandals, and don’t go sight seeing on holiday and walk around all day in jandals, because you’re just looking for trouble.
Fractured feet: Stress fractures, often on the top of the foot ,typically don’t come from an injury, but from normal activity. With a stress fracture, you might as well trade in your jandals for an immobilizing foot boot.
Domino effect: One andals injury can lead to more problems, he says. You start walking differently and then your ankle hurts, your knee hurts, your back hurts. It works its way up. People with existing chronic health problems can unknowingly put themselves at risk, too. Anyone with balance problems or foot instability should not consider jandals. Those with diabetes or circulation problems should be careful, as foot punctures and extreme pressure on the balls of your foot can lead to blisters and ulcers.
Hot foot: Everyone has, at one time or another, forgotten to put sunscreen on the top of their jandaled feet. The resulting sunburn is painful enough, but those blisters can evolve into even more serious problems.
Be cautious: Jandals are not the proper footwear for yard work or backyard play. The Podiatrist urges common sense. If you’re mowing, pulling weeds are using a shovel, pull on a sturdy pair of shoes. If you’re getting ready to play catch, touch football or horseshoes, grab your sneakers. You can slip back into your jandals when you’re done.
For all your footcare needs and advice- visit The Podiatrist
You are only given 1 pair and they have to last a lifetime.
Whether you’re taking a sightseeing trip, walking the dog, or traipsing along in your favorite pair of heels, your feet can get a lot of wear and tear during this time of year — as well as year-round.
But unless there’s pain, most people in general don’t really pay a lot of attention to their foot health.
Here are 13 mistakes to watch out for:
• Wrong footwear: The biggest problem that I see when patients come to see me with foot problems is they’re wearing the wrong shoe, such as jandals, or the wrong size of shoe.
The right shoe varies from person to person and depends on such factors as whether the individual has flat feet or high arches, or a disease, such as diabetes, that can affect foot health.
For diabetics, The Podiatrist can prescribe special shoes which tend to be seamless and deeper than regular shoes.
Diabetics need to be careful with their feet because people with the disease often have circulation problems and a difficult time feeling pain in their feet. That makes them susceptible to ulcers and open wounds that can lead to infections and amputations. A lot of diabetics, they would like to get in their sandals and shoes and not wear their diabetic shoes, but that’s where they get into trouble.
• Failing to try on new shoes: A lot of times you will see a pretty shoe and you just grab it and you go. Make sure you try the shoe on. Make sure you walk around in the store. Make sure that you get it properly fitted and have the right cushion or insole in the shoe and that you seek medical attention when you experience foot problems, instead of letting any problems linger.
• Not taking good care of shoes: Especially if you’re a runner, don’t let your shoes get too old, and mind the weather. Leaving shoes in a hot car is enough to make the rubber materials not function properly.
• Wearing jandals: With a jandal type of shoe, people have to grasp with their toes, and their foot can come out of the shoe. The grasping process can cause pain all the way up into the leg.
• Going barefoot: This is generally a bad idea because the feet need support and padding. There’s also the danger of stepping on a sharp object or breaking a toe, People with neuropathy (nerve damage) in their feet could get injured without even knowing it. Also, despite the introduction of minimalist running shoes that are supposed to be similar to going barefoot, not a lot of people can tolerate such lack of cushioning.
• Wearing sky-high shoes: When you wear a very high heel, there’s a lot of pressure on the base of the toes which can lead to pain and calluses.
The Podiatrist recommends not wearing high heels for any extended amount of walking. Any time you go much higher than 2 ½ inches, it’s very unnatural on the ankle and the foot and throws the weight forward so much that it’s easier to fall and turn your ankle.
• Wearing shoes that are too flat: Ballet flats tend to be too low, and most people feel better in a shoe with at least a little bit of a heel and some cushioning. The sole of the shoe needs to be firm. If the sole of the shoe is too soft, your foot is going to bend a lot and there will be a lot of weight on the ball of the foot.
• Not examining the feet: The Podiatrist recommends every six months for diabetics to have their (feet) examined. When they do come in, we do a thorough circulation exam. We do a thorough neurological exam and examine their feet and examine their shoes … and if we identify any complications or any problems, then we let them know how to manage it.
Checking your own feet is a good idea, too. Briefly each day, examine the bottom of your feet to make sure there’s nothing going on, especially if you’re diabetic, Ahmed said. You can use a makeup mirror or a long-handled mirror.
• Failing to address medical conditions: With diabetics, if you don’t have your sugars under control, you are not going to heal an ulcer no matter what you do to it.
Heart disease and weight problems also can affect foot health.
• Being obese: Obesity can contribute to foot deformities, with extra pressure on the ankle joints, there’s more pressure on the smaller joints of the foot, which are fragile. People will get more flat feet. People will tend to get more bunion pain, more hammer toes. They also can develop plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the ligament on the bottom of the feet, he said. If people lose at least 5 to 10 percent of their body weight, their symptoms usually resolve on their own.
Obesity also is affecting the size of people’s feet. A lot of shoe companies do not make wide varieties, and with the increasing rate of obesity in our country, people are getting wider feet.
• Standing too much: Plantar fasciitis is really worsened by standing a lot in one place. If you have to do that, you should try to shift your weight from side to side and consider purchasing over-the-counter arch support, a plastic piece that goes under the arch.
• Being a weekend warrior: Many people who are sedentary during the week will get involved in physical activity, such as golfing and running, on weekends and wind up with ankle sprains and pain. They’ll try to do all of these things that they’re not used to doing, so their ankle will get sprained. Stretching before and after exercise and having a regular regimen of working out so that you’re not just going from zero to 60.
• Allowing moisture to hang around: Beware of fungal infections. Fungus loves moisture and fungus is everywhere; the spores are in the air. If your feet are kept moist enough, fungus will start growing, so change your socks more often, keep them dry and don’t put wet shoes on. Try to rotate shoes so you don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row.
For more any problems, visit The Podiatrist
Secrets for choosing jandals that look and feel great- especially if you are going away to the Isalnds for the holidays or heading to the Northern Hemisphere.
Let’s face it – jandals are mainstream, and not just because they’re stylish, easy-to-wear and cooler when the weather warms. For many of us, jandals are the equivalent of comfort-food for the sole. Slip into those comfy, light, lovely shoes.
Yet if you’re prone to foot problems or concerned with overall foot health, you may shy away from one of summer’s great joys, believing jandals aren’t good for your feet.
Non-supportive jandals cause a common foot injury known as plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue along the bottom of the foot and the heel. Jandals leave feet prone to common muscle overuse injuries, which can be easily prevented with the right footwear.
The good news is, you can wear jandals-even if you never thought you could. It is possible to find stylish, good-looking varieties that feel great and are healthful for your feet. Here are some tips:
* Look for shoes that promotes good foot health. Footwear like the Vasyli Jandal.
* Choose a jandal that bends only at the ball of the foot. You shouldn’t be able to bend your jandal in half. Footwear
* Look for a jandal made of high-quality, soft leather for the thong and a sturdy, comfortable, supportive base.
* Choose jandals in the correct size so your toes or heels don’t hang off the edge of the sole.
* Replace last year’s worn jandals if they show signs of wear. Cracked or frayed shoes may cause foot irritation and provide inadequate support.
* Wear your supportive jandals and stylish, comfortable sandals at the pool, beach or for a fun evening dining al fresco. Save them for another time if you’re planning on doing yard work, playing sports or will be walking for a long time. Athletic shoes or supportive sandals make better choices for those occasions.
To maintain your foot health, visit The Podiatrist: www.thepodiatrist.co.nz