How to avoid shoe-icide

Here’s a fact for you – did you know that 25% of your bones are in your feet?

You did? Well clever you. Go straight to the top of the class and have one of these lovely stickers.

"Well done sticker"

What this means though is that it’s really important to look after your feet. My children may have laughed at my new shoes, but they wouldn’t be laughing if I wore pointy toed heels all the time and developed crippling bunions, leaving me unable to get up and cook them dinner every day would they?

*shouts* No they would not!

(Why they can’t make me dinner now and again I don’t know, but that’s a different post…)

The problems go further than your feet too. If any of the fragile bones in your feet become misaligned your whole body could be affected, causing knee, hip or back problems, in turn impacting on your muscular structure and posture. My comfy shoes aren’t looking quite so silly now are they?

So who are the key shoe culprits and what can you do to ensure your feet stay in tip top condition for a life of maternal servitude?

Ultra High-Heels. Podiatrists label these as ‘shoe-icide’. This type of shoe can cause an endless list of problems including ankle sprains, bunions, blisters, broken toes and in-growing toe nails. You also run the risk of looking like a bit of a tramp. The majority of these problems are easily avoidable if you ‘go-low’ and choose a heel no more than 5cm high.

Stiletto. The narrow heel is risky as your weight is distributed over a very small area, which is why some of us look like we are walking on stilts. It’s also why I can never return to the house of an ex-boss, where my red patent stilettos accidentally put a hole in the carpet. Wearing this type of shoe increases your risk of falling, tripping, or spraining your ankle, and generally looking stupid as a result. To reduce this risk, and to prevent awkward boss related moments, choose a chunky heel as they have more surface area and provide a more even weight distribution.

Ballet Shoes. Just because they don’t have a heel doesn’t mean that they are ok to wear – they’re actually one of the worst offenders for causing damage to our feet. Since they are very flat they offer no support for the foot, so our feet can’t function properly in them when walking around. This leads to knee and hip problems, and is closely associated with a very painful foot condition called ‘plantar fasciitis’.  If you love the look of ballet shoes, orthotic inserts may help prevent the foot pain by providing extra cushioning and support.

Platform Shoe. When I was about 19 I had a pair of awesome ‘going out shoes’. They were leopard print strappy platform heels – about two inches high at the front and five inches at the back. I never went home on my own when I was wearing those shoes. However, they were not great for my feet. The rigid foot bed in a platform shoe throws off the biometrics of walking as the shoe prevents your foot from bending naturally. In addition the high heel means that your heel is higher than the toe area, putting pressure on the metatarsal bones. Flatter platforms, ‘flatforms’ may not provide a solution but provide a better alternative. These put less strain on your feet and the lower heel means that there is less pressure on the ball of the foot.

Pointy Shoes. The point squeezes the front of your foot together and repeatedly wearing this style causes nerve pain, bunions, blisters or foot deformities. Not sexy. Select a boxier shoe with with room to wiggle your toes, or if these just aren’t your style look for a point that forms beyond the edge of your to as these wont squeeze your toes together. Wearing pointy shoes has never been an issue for me – my comedy light bulb toes simply refuse to be squeezed into anything narrow.

Who’d have thought there were so many ways of damaging your feet? It really is hard enough work being a woman without having to worry about bunions, so next time you’re choosing shoes, take my advice and go for something nice and comfy. You’ll thank me for it one day I’m sure, especially if that day involves you lying in a gutter with your heel stuck in a drain after one too many gins.

Believe me, I know.

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2 Comments

  1. Arabella Bazley
    30 September, 2012 / 7:21 pm

    Au contraire! For the 10cm heel platform loving girl in all of us….. my mother (82) has had a lifetime of wearing sensible shoes and has dreadful bunions. I’m absolutely positively certain that, along with smoking being bad for you, this is a complete myth (fingers crossed, where’s my rabbit’s foot?)

    P.S. I only drink an excess of gin at home so no danger of landing in the gutter…

  2. Polly
    1 October, 2012 / 11:40 am

    I have plantar fasciitis and it’s a bi**h! I’ve always been sensible with shoes, rarely wear heels, pointy shoes or super flat shoes. Basically I live in trainers :) That was caused by my employer making me wear unsupportive horrendous steel tie capped “safety” shoes and making me stand for 9 hrs a day…

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