Fashionable footwear is killing your feet

March 12 2014

More than half of Americans suffer from foot problems, and often those problems are directly related to shoes.

But no matter how cute a shoe looks,  Orly Avitzur, medical adviser at Consumer Reports, said that having fashionable footwear isn't worth the health risks.

"Wearing the wrong shoes can lead to lifelong deformities that require surgery to fix," she said.

According to a new study from the Institute for Preventive Foot Health, uncomfortable and ill-fitting shoes are a serious problem. Shoes that force feet into narrow or pointy toes can cause bunions or hammertoes, where the toes curl unnaturally downward.

But that doesn't stop women like Trisha Calvo and Jennifer Frost from wearing name brand heels.

"I feel fabulous in them," Frost said. "You feel fabulous in your shoes...not physically 
fabulous in them."

Studies show that high heels can shorten your Achilles tendon and can trigger planter fasciitis, an inflammation in the soles of the feet. Avitzur recommends foregoing high heels for something more comfortable.

"Opt for a lower heel to take some of the pressure off the ball of your foot," she said. "Make sure that there is enough room in the toe, and avoid thin-soled shoes that have little or no support."

But even flat shoes can hurt feet if they lack proper support and cushioning, especially if they're the wrong size.

One recent study revealed that up to a third of people wear the wrong shoe size, sometimes by up to one-and-a-half sizes. To combat that problem, Consumer Reports recommends measuring your feet each time you buy, especially for people over 40. After that, feet can grow up to half a shoe size every 10 years.

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