5 On Your Side

Fashionable footwear is killing your feet

Posted March 12, 2014

More than half of Americans suffer from foot problems, and often those problems are directly related to shoes.

But no matter how cute a shoe looks,  Orly Avitzur, medical adviser at Consumer Reports, said that having fashionable footwear isn't worth the health risks.

"Wearing the wrong shoes can lead to lifelong deformities that require surgery to fix," she said.

According to a new study from the Institute for Preventive Foot Health, uncomfortable and ill-fitting shoes are a serious problem. Shoes that force feet into narrow or pointy toes can cause bunions or hammertoes, where the toes curl unnaturally downward.

But that doesn't stop women like Trisha Calvo and Jennifer Frost from wearing name brand heels.

"I feel fabulous in them," Frost said. "You feel fabulous in your shoes...not physically
fabulous in them."

Studies show that high heels can shorten your Achilles tendon and can trigger planter fasciitis, an inflammation in the soles of the feet. Avitzur recommends foregoing high heels for something more comfortable.

"Opt for a lower heel to take some of the pressure off the ball of your foot," she said. "Make sure that there is enough room in the toe, and avoid thin-soled shoes that have little or no support."

But even flat shoes can hurt feet if they lack proper support and cushioning, especially if they're the wrong size.

One recent study revealed that up to a third of people wear the wrong shoe size, sometimes by up to one-and-a-half sizes. To combat that problem, Consumer Reports recommends measuring your feet each time you buy, especially for people over 40. After that, feet can grow up to half a shoe size every 10 years.



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  • NC Reader Mar 17, 2014

    BusyB97 -- Try brands like Merrell, Taos, Dansko, and Naot. Search those brands and your nearest city and you should find stores that sell them.

  • NC Reader Mar 17, 2014

    BusyB97 -- Try brands like Merrell, Taos, Dansko, and Naot. Search those brands and your nearest city and you should find stores that sell them.

  • readme Mar 13, 2014

    I'd say this is a 10/90 problem, with fashionable shoes causing 10% of the issue and any shoes causing the remaining 90%. Take your foot coffins off every now and then and go for a walk or a jog. Your feet are atrophied.

  • info335 Mar 13, 2014

    It is correct that wearing ill-fitting shoes can cause short-term and long-term harm to your feet. It is also recommended to wear a variety of heel heights - wearing flats all the time reduces the flexibility of the ligaments and tendons in your feet. There are ways to choose shoes with heels and minimize the risk of damaging your feet. You can read more tips here http://santamonicapodiatry.com/proper-foot-care/shoeicide-fact-or-fiction/

  • busyb97 Mar 13, 2014

    So that begs the question of WHERE can you find shoes that qualify under their recommendations?! It's near impossible to find shoes these days. I was shopping last week for some simple black flats. All I could find were fancy pumps of all shapes and heights, and then the flats they had were those slipper like shoes that are so trendy- but they look like little GIRLS shoes! I'm 40 years old....I don't wear bows and glittery stuff on my shoes thank you very much.
    I've already been avoiding the shoes they talk about because of flat arches and any pump more than 1" in height causes foot/hip pains.

    I hate shoe shopping, for anyone in my family. Stores have maybe 3-4 pair to choose from most of the time. maybe I'll try Tanger outlet mall in Mebane. I noticed they have LOTS of shoe stores in one place.