Are Your Shoes Dangerous To Your Foot Health?

We’ve got a list of fashion-forward shoe styles, and the not-so-fashionable damage they may do to feet.

Fashion magazines may applaud a collection of stilettos or ballet flats, but foot sub-specialists view them with less enthusiasm. Many of us have experienced temporary soreness from shoes that look better than they feel, but what about the long-term consequences of fashionable footwear on foot health? We’ve got the lowdown on some of today’s most popular shoes, and the less-popular risks we run when we wear them.

Stilettos and Platform Wedges

Towering heels may be beautiful, but that heel height shifts weight to the balls of our feet and creates balance problems that can harm our back and legs. For every inch of heel you add, the body weight pressure on the front of your foot increases by 5 percent. Platform wedges, however, do provide a bit more cushioning and balance support.

Risks: Heels can cause hyperextension, ankle sprains, foot fractures, pinched nerves, bunions, and hammertoes.

Ankle Booties and Thigh-High Boots

Boots are a requirement to get through Minnesota winters. With the extra support boots provide around ankles and legs, boots offer more balance support than stilettos, but heel height is still an issue. Podiatrists recommend boots with a heel that does not exceed two inches in height.

Risks: If the boot heels are high, wearers risk hyperextension, foot fractures, pinched nerves, bunions, and hammertoes.

Ballet Flats

These dainty shoes have pros and cons for foot health. Because flats are flexible, they force muscles to work harder and become stronger. This is a plus. On the other hand, flat shoes don’t provide adequate arch support, cushioning, or shock absorption, and there’s a higher risk that a foreign object could pierce the sole of the shoe and injure the foot.

Risks: Flats can cause inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, stress fractures, and external injuries.

Flip-Flops

These casual shoes may be the symbol of the carefree warm-weather lifestyle, but most flip-flops are too flat, too thin, and too open. They expose the foot to the environment without providing arch support or cushioning. The toe thong forces toe muscles to overgrip, and may increase risk of toe fractures.

Risks: Flip-flops can cause inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains, fractures, and external injuries.

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