By Rehan Iqbal
It’s interesting how fascinated many people are with shoes. It’s quite common to wear very uncomfortable shoes just for the look of it, but is this wise? The fact is, wearing the wrong shoes can cause some serious and permanent damage to your feet, knees, hips and back. The pain can be quite unsettling. In this article, we discuss some specific problems caused by bad shoe choices.
If your feet are unsupported, your arches may very well fall, leaving you with painful, flat feet. When your arches are damaged, this can cause overall foot pain. It can also cause you to walk strangely, and this leads to all sorts of problems in your ankles, knees, hips and back.
If you are limping along, knock-kneed, favoring your painful foot or feet, you cause a great deal of strain to your knees, in particular. If you are prone to wearing flat shoes that have no supportive insole or flat, cheap flip flops, you can expect to have sore feet and knees.
High Heels Put Your Whole Body Out of Alignment
Stiletto heels have a very dramatic look, and they really do enhance the appearance of your legs, but their long term impact is definitely negative. When you walk in stiletto heels, you put a lot of force on your knees, and you put your lower back in an uncomfortably arched position.
In fact, very high heeled shoes have been proven to cause all manner of musculoskeletal pain, problems such as bunions (hallux valgus) and exacerbation of osteoarthritis pain.
It’s best not to wear very high, slim heels at all, but if you must, limit it to occasions when you will be sitting most of the time.
The low heeled pumps that many business women wear all day, every day at work can cause a great deal of knee damage and pain. Although their impact is not as dramatic as that caused by high, slim heels, they still push your body forward and put a lot of pressure on your knees.
It’s best to wear a pair of good looking, supportive flats to work and keep a pair of low heeled pumps in your desk drawer or locker for important meetings and other times when you may need to look impressive for one reason or another.
Without good arch support, your knees and your legs may tend to turn in (overpronation). This twists and puts a lot of pressure on your kneecaps and causes knee instability. This can lead to pain when you bend your knees.
Additionally, overpronation can cause strain and damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of your legs.
The shoes you wear for extended standing, walking, running and participating in sports should ideally be especially designed for your intended activity. Additionally, you must make sure that your active wear shoes have plenty of internal support that includes comfortable arch support, strong side posts and effective heel cups.
Properly made, supportive shoes should keep your foot in a comfortable forward-facing position. The soles should wear evenly. If you see that one part of the sole of your shoe is wearing rapidly, or if one shoe is wearing out much more quickly than the other, you should see a podiatrist for proper diagnosis, treatment and fitting with the right sort of shoes.
If you don’t support your feet, you will soon find that they are sore, achy and tired. When your feet hurt, your gait will show it. Limping or shambling about can cause other problems, such as lower body fatigue. This can lead to hip and knee injuries that may need surgery and or physical therapy to correct.
Achy feet can cause you to take small, careful steps (i.e. shortened gait) and this can be very hard on your ankles, knees and hips. Shortened gait most often happens when you are wearing loose, slippery shoes or sandals that cause you to clench your toes to keep them in place. Take care to always choose properly fitted, supportive shoes and sandals that stay where they are meant to be without your having to grip them with your toes constantly.
Bad Shoe Choices Can Lead to Injury
Shoes that fit improperly can cause falls and accidents, and they can also cause injuries such as pain in the Achilles tendon, ingrown toenails, bunions, corns and more.
Wearing the wrong shoes can cause damage and pain in your tendons and ligaments. If you don’t already have arthritis, the poor alignment caused by bad shoes can lead to wear and tear that triggers its development. If you do have arthritis, it will worsen with poor footwear.
The right sort of shoe should cushion and support your foot, fit well and feel comfortable right out of the box. If you’ve been experiencing foot, ankle, knee and/or lower back pain, switching to good, supportive shoes may bring blessed relief.
Multiple studies and years of experience on the part of podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons make it clear that the right footwear can prevent a vast array of foot and lower body problems and pathology. That’s why it is so important to choose shoes with an eye to support and comfort before looks. Luckily, as we learn more, so do shoe manufacturers and today there are many very nice looking healthy, comfortable shoes available to people in all walks of life.
Investing in the right shoes for your level of health and your intended activity helps keep your feet, ankles, knees and hips strong and sound. Correct, comfortable footwear also contributes to and supports overall good health and well-being.