You might not realize it, but your shoes and the way you wear them can have a huge impact on your health. All those hours spent in high heels or stiff dress shoes that pinch the toes, constrict the feet and cut off circulation can take a toll on your body. The result? More than just achy feet. Serious health problems, including ingrown nails, callouses, neuromas, hammer toes, bunions, crossed toes, blisters, etc.
Here’s a rundown of the ramifications of tight shoes – and how to avoid them.
This is one of the most common problems long-term tight shoe wearers experience, and it can be quite painful. Ingrown nails occur when a cut on or just under the nail bed causes the nail to turn inward and grow into the live tissue of your skin. Ingrown nails may also happen if you bite your nails or cut them too short.
The best remedy is to wear cotton socks so that any pressure on the nail bed can be relieved. If you must wear tight shoes, try wearing sandals or open-toed shoes.
Blisters and Calluses
Many times, people put off treating the skin of their feet with foot cream because of the idea that it might be uncomfortable or bothersome. However, in many cases, dry skin conditions such as cracked heels and dry heels are caused by wearing shoes that are too tight.
Another common foot condition is ball of foot pain. This is a condition where the pressure caused by tight shoes or high-heeled shoes causes ball of foot pain which can be very painful. One way to prevent this is to wear comfortable shoes with good arch support and a mild heel insert.
Neuromas are a type of nerve tumor that develops at the point where the toes meet the skin. Neuromas develop when the nerves of your toes are compressed by tight shoes, causing inflammation and pain. This often results in a small, hard lump. Neuromas can cause not only pain, but swelling and numbness as well.
To avoid neuromas, wear shoes that fit comfortably, preferably with a wide toe box and roomy front space. Make sure your shoes are well-ventilated so the skin of your feet will remain well-ventilated as well. Foot health cream is also highly recommended to protect your feet from drying out. As for additional foot care treatment, a podiatrist can help if necessary.
The big toe is referred to as the “hammer toe” because it is the toe that is most likely to develop hammer toes, as well as other deformities. The big toe joint can get dislocated easily in shoes that are too tight, causing pain, numbness and sometimes swelling of the joint. To treat this condition, try wearing shoes with wide toe boxes which will give you extra room to spread your toes. You can also buy inserts designed to help protect the big toe joint.
When the toes cramp or curl toward the other toes, that’s crossed toes. They usually affect the second toe, but it is possible for any of your toes to become crossed. The most common cause for this condition is wearing tight shoes for a long time. To prevent crossed toes, wear shoes that have a wider toe box and are well-ventilated so your feet will be able to breathe properly.
A bunion is a painful inflammation of the big toe joint. A bunion occurs when your big toe joint deviates toward the smaller toes due to pressure from ill-fitting shoes which can cause bunions. Another popular cause of bunions is inherited foot structure and genetic factors.
To avoid bunions, it is important that you wear shoes that have enough room so your feet will be comfortable, and you should probably go for wider toed shoes if you have a tendency toward bunions. Also, wearing shoes that are well-ventilated is highly recommended.
How Do I Properly Fit My Shoes?
The width of a shoe should fit snugly around your foot, yet allow for movement in the toes. You should have at least one finger between the end of the shoe and the end of your toes. Try on several pairs of shoes at each store before buying a pair to see if they fit your feet comfortably. Never try on shoes after a long day of standing or walking because your feet will be swollen and they will feel too tight.
Make sure your heel is secure in the shoe. You should not slide forward in the shoe nor should you have to wiggle your foot to get it into the shoe. The back of the shoe should slip over your heel with no discomfort. The forefoot of the shoe should be broad enough so that as you walk, your toes aren’t rubbing together or against the front of the shoe. You should also make sure your foot is supported and hugged in the arch.
While the shoe should fit snugly around your foot, it should not be overly tight. Never buy shoes that are too small or too narrow as they can cause extreme pain, but if you have wide feet and find it difficult to find shoes, you should consider buying a shoe size larger than your normal one so that they are more comfortable.
Happily, there are a few things you can do to make sure that your shoe fits properly.
- Walk around the store and try on several different styles of shoes. Take a couple of steps in each one to make sure it is comfortable and move up and down to make sure the heel is secure.
- Never wear new shoes on a long day of sightseeing, walking or standing. If you do, your feet will be swollen at the end of the day, which will cause them to feel too tight, even if they fit properly.
- Make sure the back heel of the shoe fits snuggly and does not slip up and down.
- Make sure your forefoot is broad enough so that as you walk, your toes aren’t rubbing together or against the front of the shoe.
- Make sure the arch of your shoe is secure and stable so that it supports the lower part of your foot when you walk to avoid pain in your heel or ankle area. You should also make sure there is enough room for the toes to spread.
If you find that your shoe fits well for the first few hours but then starts causing you pain, let it go and buy a new pair. This will ensure that your feet are well-protected and comfortable at all times.
Health and hygiene are important parts of every day life, but they are especially important when it comes to having healthy feet. Chances are that you’ve been putting up with uncomfortable shoes for years. Now that you know how much damage a pair of tight shoes can do to your feet, you’re probably going to do a better job at keeping your feet healthy and comfortable.