Pumps that pinch.
Stilettos that squeeze.
Boots with heels so high that the balls of your feet feel like they’re on fire a mere 10 minutes after walking out of the house.
There’s LOTS of adults out there wearing shoes that just aren’t appropriate for their foot size and shape. Women in particular are more likely to buy shoes that are too small which, in turn, puts them at greater risk for bunions, corns, and other deformities that often times requires surgery to fix. Listed below are some of the more common issues that can be caused by ill fitting footwear – we’ll go over each of these more in-depth later on but, for now, here’s a brief overview of each.
Bunions – A bunion is an enlargement of bone or tissue (often times described as a knobby protrusion) around the joint at the base of the big toe. As the bunion grows the big toe can begin to turn in towards the second toe causing swelling and pain. While it’s true that genetics can play a bit of a role regarding whether or not you develop bunions, wearing too tight shoes is a much more likely culprit. Nonsurgical treatment involves wearing shoes with a wider toe box, taping the toe, or wearing a spacer in-between your big toe and second toe. If nonsurgical treatment is not successful, your doctor may discuss removal of the bunion via surgery.
Corns – A corn is a type of callus that forms when tight shoes put constant pressure on the skin. Corns can even be found between the toes in spots where the toes rub together. Treatment for corns involves applying a foam pad over the affected area to help relieve pressure and, of course, wearing shoes that have plenty of room in the toe area.
Hammer Toes – Hammer toe occurs when a toe curls, as opposed to lying flat in the shoe. The middle joint of the toe bends upwards and, when placed in a tight fitting shoe, rubs against the shoe surface and causes pain. To add insult to injury, hammer toes often develop a corn on the top of the bend, which increases the discomfort. Simple treatment options include wearing shoes with a wider toe box, strapping techniques, and wearing toe splints; however, surgery may be needed to correct the deformity.
Ingrown Toenail – Ingrown toenails typically occur on the big toe, where the nail is cut short near the tip of the toe. This is then aggravated by placing your ailing toe into a shoe with a too tight toe box which, in turn, causes your toes to be pressed together and creates an abnormal amount of pressure on the nail. The constant pressure results in inflammation and pain. Nonsurgical treatment includes wearing shoes with wider toe boxes and soaking the afflicted toe in warm water several times a day. Cutting the toenail straight across to avoid trimming the corners down too short is advised as well. If conservative treatment fails, removal of part (or all) of the nail may be necessary.
Crossover Toe – Crossover toe forms when toes are crimped in a too tight toe box and the constant pressure causes the second or third toe to move over the toe next to it. The use of spacers and wearing shoes with a wider toe box are, again (are you seeing a theme here???) the simple, conservative ways of treating the affliction. If these methods fail, surgery is – again – an option.
Diabetic Foot – Individuals with diabetes often suffer from peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) in their feet, which results in them not being able to feel skin irritations or, sometimes, even punctures. This is especially dangerous due to the fact that, if a blister (or other injury) were to form due to wearing ill fitting shoes, it wouldn’t be felt and could quickly progress to a much more serious infection. Therefore, it’s recommended that those with diabetes check their feet daily for pressure areas, redness, sores, blisters, scratches, or nail problems.
What’s the lesson to be learned here? Wear shoes that fit properly! And, if you’re having foot issues, come in and see us – we’re here and ready to help!