Monday, April 23, 2012

Shoe Do's and Don'ts

Why are we so hard on our feet? From a very early age, our mothers put us in shoes that are cute, but not necessarily practical. We move into our teens wearing flats and unsupportive sneakers and as adults we seal our feet's fate.
Or do we? Many women think they are destined to have their grandmother's ugly, gnarly feet, but that does not have to be the case. You do not have to give up cute shoes to have healthy and happy feet.
Follow these tips and you'll have healthy feet for a lifetime.
1. Don't wear high heels all day long. A 2010 study found that over a long period of time, wearing heels higher than 2 inches puts you at risk for osteoarthritis and joint degeneration. A new study shows that high heels are a leading cause of ingrown toenails and other toenail deformities. If you're going to wear high heels, make sure to put in orthotics and pick shoes smartly. Cap the heels at 2 inches and stay away from pointed toe shoes. Wear your highest heels for occasions where you won't be on your feet a long time.
2. Don't wear flip flops everywhere. We've said it before: keep your flip flops at home. They are not meant for everyday wear. Most flip flops are intended only for beach and pool wear. These floppy shoes cause stubbed toes, cuts, and sprained ankles. When selecting pairs not for the beach or pool, look for ones with supportive arches or ones that have the APMA Seal of Acceptance. Diabetics should remember that wearing flip flops are a "no no" as they put you at risk for cuts, contusions, and wounds.
3. Wear the right shoe for the right sport. With the weather heating up and more people heading outdoors to participate in their favorite sports, it is essential to pick out the right shoe for the right sport. If you're a serious athlete in a particular sport, you should consider getting a professional fitting.
4. Don't wear the same shoes every day. While it sounds like a no-brainer, for some it's a challenge. If you wear a uniform or have a particular type of shoes you need to wear, like steel toed boots, you're most likely wearing the same pair of shoes every day. If you have to wear the same type of shoe every day, buy two of the same and alternate them.
5. Stay away from hand-me-downs. Even shoes given from mother to daughter or brother to brother should be avoided. If mom has high arches, and daughter has flat feet, the shoes are not going to fit the same way. The shoes are already "broken in" as well, meaning the leather has stretched and the insole worn.
6. Get rid of worn out shoes. If your soles are talking to you, it's time to ditch them. Shoes that are worn every day should be tossed after 6 months. Running shoes last between 300 and 500 miles.
7. Sweating? Take 'em off. Fungal infections don't come just from public showers, pools, and locker rooms. They come from your shoes too! Your shoes are the best environment for fungus to grow: dark, damp, and sweaty. Change your socks and shoes regularly, and don't forget to wash your sneakers often.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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