Most common foot problems and how to prevent them!

Most common foot problems and how to prevent them!

Your feet are under constant pressure everyday so it is vital to take care of them as best as you can on a daily basis. Bunions and hammertoe are two common foot problems that men, women, and even children can develop. While there is no absolute cure to either deformities, except surgery, there are preventative measures and treatments to alleviate any bunion or hammertoe pains.

Bunions

Bunions are a bony prominence caused by the realignment of the joint at the inner base of the big toe. Most commonly affecting women, this deformity is progressive and often connected to those who wear high heels and narrow-toed shoes. However, bunions can also be caused by genetic factors, which will surface in younger individuals.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a deformity that causes the toe to bend or curl downward instead of pointing forward, and can affect any of the toes on your feet, but most commonly found in the second or third toe. While hammertoe can be found at the time of birth, it usually progresses over time due to poor-fitting shoes.

Both bunions and hammertoes will cause discomfort when walking and may even cause pain. Inappropriate footwear often increases the risks for both deformities and podiatrists recommend choosing shoes that not only fit correctly, but also provide ample support. A simple and cost efficient solution to improving support in shoes, is to purchase toe pads or insoles. Also, a shoe stretcher can be used to make currently owned shoes roomier without altering the appearance too much.

However if looking for a more long term investment in comfort and treatment, purchasing footwear adept to improve bunion and hammertoe deformities is the best option. When choosing the best shoes for bunions, you must take into account the nature of your bunion and the activities you participate in. The more extensive your activities, the more styles of shoes you may need to purchase. Unfortunately, most shoes that help with bunions are not the most stylish. Characteristics of this footwear would include: wider than normal causing a boxy appearance, flexible soles, and toe room.

Footwear for Bunions

Casual: Sandals are great options, though not always the most appropriate for most occasions. Studies have shown that those who walk around bare feet are less likely to develop bunions.

Formal: Dressy shoes are where most people run into trouble, especially women. If you are in need of dress shoes, choose ones that are constructed of soft leather. Avoid heels higher than two inches or ones that squeeze the toes together.

Athletic: Most athletic shoes are made to provide arch support while allowing space for the toes to move. Jogging shoes tend to be good choices.

Work Shoes/Boots: Most work shoes are constructed of a stiff leather for added protection of the feet in dangerous work situations. However, since they also tend to be boxy and roomy, it often accommodates a bunion. When choosing work shoes, you should look for one that is constructed with a heel counter, meaning the back of the shoe is configured to keep the heel and back of the foot in place by not allowing the foot to easily slide forward.

Four Styles of Shoes for Bunion Problems

  1. Stretch Uppers: Shoes constructed with stretch material that forms around the feet will be soft and flexible, made for being as comfortable as slippers but appropriate for workplaces.
  2. Mary Jane Shoes: Resembling clogs, Mary Jane shoes have a higher back. Lightweight Mary Jane style shoes are often good choices for women. The strap rather than lacing or solid upper parts of the shoe will allow plenty of toe room.
  3. Clogs: Though typically boxy, some can be good looking. Most often worn by hospital attendees and those who spend long periods of time walking or standing on a hard surface. This style is not meant for running or walking over rough terrain.
  4. Rocker Sole: The rocker sole takes pressure away from the front part of the foot and toes by allowing the foot to rock forward once it strikes the ground. Typically wide in the toe area without having the boxy look of clogs.

Footwear for Hammertoe

Supportive shoes and sandals must provide deep toe boxes to effectively treat against hammertoe. The best footwear will accommodate the toes. Also, shoes for hammertoe will often have special linings on the upper portion of the toe box to reduce friction from toes rubbing against it. Another characteristic will be a curved sole at the forefoot to reduce added pressure on the affected toes.

Athletic: Shoes purchased for exercise should be specifically designed for the activity being performed. For example, a running shoe should cushion the forefoot, while tennis or basketball shoes should have added ankle support. Athletic socks are also a key factor and experts recommend padded acrylic socks for any exercise or sports.

Individual Parts for Hammertoe Shoes:

  1. The Sole: Ideally, shoes should have removable insoles. Thin, firm soles are often best choices for older individuals. Elderly people who wear thick inflexible soles may be unable to sense the position of their feet relative to the ground, increasing the risk for falling.
  2. The Heel: High heels are a major cause of hammertoe in women. Women who insist on wearing high heels should purchase ones that provide wide toe room and reinforced heels that are relatively wide, with cushioned insoles. Limiting the time spent wearing high heels will also be helpful.
  3. Laces: Laces should always be loosened before putting shoes on. Individuals with narrow feet should purchase shoes with eyelets farther away from the tongue. Therefore a tighter fit for narrower feet and a looser fit for wider feet is achieved.

Since bunions and hammertoe are common deformities in men and women, there are increasing choices of footwear that best accommodate for the discomfort–not only do these shoes provide support they can be considered fashionable as well.

Doctor Alavy is a professional, confident physician who will make himself your partner on this journey to a better, healthier you. He is compassionate, kind, caring and will take time to talk to you about your condition in order to find the best possible treatment. His bedside manner is like no other.

CITATIONS:

Bunions: Causes, Treatment, Surgery & Prevention. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2016,  from http://www.medicinenet.com/bunions/article.htm

Foot Problems – Hammer Toes. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2016,  from http://luckyfeetshoes.com/foot-problems/hammer-toes

Hammer Toe. (2013, January 31). Retrieved April 27, 2016,  from http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/hammer-toe/shoes.html

What are Hammertoes? Hammertoe Types and Causes. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2016,  from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-hammertoes-basics

What Are the Best Shoes for Bunions? 4 Recommended Style Choices. (2014). Retrieved April 27, 2016,  from http://www.buniondoctor.net/what-are-the-best-shoes-for-bunions-4-recommended-style-choices

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