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Are Your Shoes Dangerous To Your Foot Health?

The style of shoes you’re wearing can be bad for your feet. 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, some shoes can be bad for your feet. 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.


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.

Summit Orthopedics offers personalized foot and ankle expertise

Our fellowship-trained foot and ankle physicians understand that your mobility depends on the health of your feet and ankles. If you have suffered an injury or are experiencing symptoms that make walking painful, our team of foot and ankle specialists can help with conservative treatment, seasoned surgical teams, and expert rehabilitation support. Summit Orthopedics specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely get you back on your feet and on your way.

Start your journey to optimal foot health. Find your foot and ankle expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNPlymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.

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