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The Best and Worst Shoes for Your Feet

Dr. Belal Saadat

2 min read

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In the race to keep up with current trends, most people never comprehend the havoc that most fashion shoes, and even certain ‘comfy’ shoes can wreak on our feet and bodies. For this purpose, here is a foot-friendly guide to the shoes you should and shouldn’t buy:

Worst:

1- High Heels:

Any heels above 4 inches alter body alignment and posture by putting extra stress on the feet, legs, and hips, reduce the foot’s natural padding and shock absorbency by putting excess weight on the balls of the feet, and cause chronic knee joint issues, ankle sprains, and calluses.

Moreover, painful, bony enlargements called ‘pump bumps’ can develop on the outer heels due to rigid back strap-induced irritation, while long-term high heel wear can result in osteoarthritis and Achilles tendon shortening; making it painful to wear flats.

2- Flip Flops and Ballet Flats:

Now proven to be the leading causes of Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis, conditions that result from inflammation and overstretching of the plantar fascia ligament and the Achilles tendon in the feet, flip flops can also cause bony outgrowths, or ‘spurs’, to develop along the foot’s edges.

Similarly, thong flip flops can cause hammertoe (permanently downward-bent toe) due to excess pressure on the toes, while the largely exposed foot area is a major health hazard leading to serious complications for diabetics. Ballet flats are no better due to minimal arch support and reduced shock absorbency when the foot strikes the ground.

3- Narrow or Pointed Toes:

The common culprit behind foot deformities, the compression and overcrowding of the toes in small areas for prolonged periods of time can result in bunion (a painful swelling on side of the biggest or the smallest toe) and hammertoe formation, both of which require surgical correction. Bruises may also develop under the toenails in some women.

4- Mules:

The backless nature of mules, either flat or heeled, combined with a restrictive toe box not only puts extra weight on the toes, but also increases the risk of sprains (due to the effort required to prevent the shoe from falling off while walking), hammertoes, and bunions.

Best of The Best:

1- Bare It All…

….at least when it comes to your feet, according to Harvard Researcher Daniel Liberman. Walking barefoot strengthens and stiffens foot muscles and ensures proper gait, which is important because weak feet result in non-arching flat feet, an open invitation for knee pain, cartilage damage, and lower-back pain. Alternatively, wearing ‘minimal shoes’ with a thin, flexible sole and devoid of arch support and a restrictive toes box can mimic the health effects of walking barefoot.

Second Best:

We can’t deny that shoes were made for a reason (mainly to protect the feet from the harsh environment); which is where the following shoes come in:

1- Sneakers:

Sneakers that support the foot from ankle to toe, have a thick, wide arch with some cushioning, and an upward-bending toe-box are the best daily footwear option. However, discard your sneakers after 6 months or upon exceeding the 500-mile limit to avoid foot injuries. Also, avoid shoes that are too comfortable, twist easily, or bend in half, as they provide minimal arch support.

2- Performance Pumps:

Keeping style and comfort side by side, performance pumps provide good foot support due to their athletic shoe-based construction, extra toe room, and reinforced heels, making them ideal for the style-savvy working woman.

3- Wedge and Block Heels:

For those unwilling to sacrifice the chicness of high heels, wedges with a 1/2 -1.5-inch heel are a better alternative; as the slight elevation of these shoes provides comparatively better foot support and balance, while also minimizing the spraining hazard. Similarly, block heels provide even body-weight distribution due to the larger surface area. However, opt for wide shoes that are parallel to the ground, and cork or rubber heels instead of wooden ones.

4- Fitted Flip Flops:

Can’t seem to stop wearing your favorite summer/beach wear? Then thick soled flip flops with a fitted front may be a slightly better alternative as they protect the feet from thorns, debris, and other ground hazards, while also providing better arch support than their flatter counterparts.

Foot health matters just as much as bodily health. Make sure to buy shoes that fit properly and aid, rather than hinder, natural foot movement. If you have any existing shoe-induced foot conditions, consult with your doctor for appropriate treatment. You can also book an appointment with a top Orthopedic Specialist or top Podiatrist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your foot-related concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Belal Saadat - Author Dr. Belal Saadat is among the Best Orthopedic Surgeons in Lahore. Dr. Belal Saadat is a Orthopedic Surgeon practicing in Lahore. He has M.B.B.S. and F.C.P.S (Ortho) degrees with over 9 years of experience. You can book an appointment with Dr. Belal Saadat by visiting oladoc.

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