Pretty shoes lead to ugly foot problems in women

You need to stay light on your feet, so choose wisely when buying shoes you’ll wear to work.
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Jun 06, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

You rely on your feet to carry you from exam room to exam room and to support you while you perform surgeries. What you wear to work on your feet everyday can have a significant impact on your health. And when your dogs are barking, so to speak, it can be hard to focus on your job.

According to a recent study, 39 percent of women say they wear high heels every day, and 75 percent of those women say they experience regular shoe-related foot pain and suffer from bunions, arthritic big toes, calluses, hammertoes, and plantar warts. Many women wear shoes to work every day that look great but are simply too small. The most common problems are related to the height of the heel or the narrowness of the toe box.

The narrow toe box makes it hard for many women to properly fit their entire foot into the shoe. This poor fit can lead to toe deformities. These include bunions, hammertoes, and calluses. A bunion is a bump along the inside of the big toe, just before the joint. It’s typically associated with deviation of the toe caused by external pressure from shoes that have a small toe box. With time and ongoing improper shoe wear, the deformity and the bump become permanent and can worsen.

These, and other foot problems women experience because of poor shoe wear, do not happen overnight. It’s a gradual process that can happen over a period of years. Once you get a bunion, you can’t get rid of it. However, wearing toe pads over the bunions to prevent rubbing against the shoe will help ease the pain over the bump.

Experts recommend using a simple test to find out if your shoes will fit before you buy them: Take a pen and draw around your bare foot. Put the shoe over the drawing—if your toes stick out of the shoe, they’re too small. Try a bigger pair that will cause you much less discomfort.