Foot Conditions Resulting From Improper Footwear

Posted on the December 4th, 2013 under Foot Problems by Site-Admin

Some Fashionable Footwear May Be Damaging Your Feet

Improperly designed footwear can cause foot conditions or lower extremities injuries over time. Foot bonesFrom exercise shoes to work boots to dress shoes, the design should allow your foot to function well in order to avoid the many types of foot problems that are common among many people today. Most conventional footwear incorporates a number of problematic design features.

1. Most shoes today are fitted with rigid, inflexible soles. Inflexible soles prevent the natural flattening and movement of the arch while walking. Modern footwear features arch support and other types of design features, which are detrimental to the health of the foot.

2. The heel elevation is another common design feature that is harmful to the foot over time. When the rear part of the foot is elevated above the fore part, it results in shortened and contracted posterior leg muscles. The elevation eliminates the natural arch support and affects normal gait. The heel elevation is one of the most common causes of foot problems due to the popularity of high heels.

3. Another common shoe design flaw that brings about problems over time is the toe spring. This feature leads to crooked toes and other conditions due to the tendon imbalance.
4. One of the leading causes of foot and toe deformities among adults today is the tapering toe boxes. This footwear design causes a number of problems including hammer toe, ingrown toenails, Morton’s neuroma, bunions and plantar fasciitis.
As a person walks, the foot experiences tremendous pressure. By simply walking, the foot withstands up to three times the body weight, while running can exert up to 10 times the body weight. The type of shoes to wear is therefore a very important consideration in order to prevent such conditions. As fashion trends change and evolve, different shoe designs have come up. Although some of these designs are fashionable and stylish, they may lead to different foot disorders.

Common problems that poorly designed footwear can cause:

Bunion

Bunion

Medically referred to as hallux valgus, it is one of the most common forefoot conditions today. A bunion is a bulge around the big toe joint on the inside of the foot. This bulge is actually a protruding bone. A bunion can also form on the outside of the foot, around the little toe joint. Called a bunionette, it forms when the footwear forces the little toe inwards, towards the big toe.

The most common symptoms of bunions include soreness, swelling and inflammation on the side surface of the big toe. These symptoms cause a lot of discomfort and pain, causing a person to walk improperly.

Although the most common cause of bunions is poorly designed footwear, the condition may also arise because of arthritis and unusual foot function. This condition is most common in women who wear shoes that are too small for their feet, thus squeezing the toes together, causing the metatarsal bone to protrude. Men who wear improperly fitting footwear that is too constrictive in the toe area can also suffer from this condition. Surgery may be necessary when the condition worsens.

When bunions start to form, it is advisable to soak feet in warm water in order to get temporary relief. Other treatment options include bunion bandages, shields and night splints. Although these options limit the worsening of the conditions, wearing proper footwear is the best treatment and prevention method. The footwear should have a wide toe area as well as rocker soles, which unload significant pressure to the affected area.

Hammer Toe

Tendons and ligaments that have tightened, causing the joints to curl downwards, cause this condition. Characterized by discomfort, pain and extreme pressure, the condition may affect any toe except the big toe. There are two types of hammertoes:
– Rigid
– Flexible
As the names suggest, the rigid hammer toe does not have the ability to move, as opposed to the flexible hammer toe. This movement, however, is extremely painful and limited, restricting the movement of the foot and exerting more pressure on the ball of the foot. This condition can result from wearing poorly designed and improperly fitting shoes, muscle imbalance or arthritis.

One of the most important steps in treating or preventing this condition is by wearing proper footwear. The footwear should have a high enough and wide enough toe area to minimize friction against the toes and constriction. Other treatment methods that relieve this condition include gel toe shields and caps that reduce friction and wearing shoes that are fitted with toe crests.

Metatarsalgia

This very painful foot disorder is located in the metatarsal area of the foot, also referred to as the ball of the foot. Excessive pressure over a lengthy period causes this condition, which may affect both the joints and the bones at the ball of the foot. Commonly characterized by chronic and recurrent pain, the condition affects more women than men.

The most common cause of this condition is footwear that has a narrow toe area, which compresses the ball of the foot and hinders the walking process, leading to significant discomfort in the forefoot. Wearing of high heels may also contribute to this condition, in addition to engaging in high impact activities while wearing the wrong type of footwear.
Knowing the main source of pain is the first step in treating this condition. If wearing improper shoes is the cause, the person affected should go for shoes with wide and high toe areas and those with rocker soles. People suffering from this condition have the option of wearing specially designed orthopedic shoes or using special metatarsal bandages and gel cushions.

Morton’s Neuroma

Characterized by pain, swelling, burning, inflammation, and in some cases, lack of feeling between the third and forth toes, the condition may lead to cramping and numbness of the forefoot. Improperly designed footwear that places pressure in the forefoot area can cause this condition.

Choosing the right footwear is important in order to prevent and treat this condition. The footwear should have enough space in the toe area in order to relieve pain and pressure. A metatarsal pad, placed behind the ball of the foot can also relieve pressure and reduce the pain and discomfort.

Plantar Fasciitis

This condition leads to arch and heel pain as well as discomfort and inflammation. The most common causes of this condition are poorly designed footwear, flat feet, obesity and excessive physical activity, causing unusual stretching of the plantar fascia, which is a band of tissue at the bottom of the foot.

Before commencing treatment of this condition, it is important to determine the main cause of the problem. If the cause is flat feet, an orthotic is a very useful device in offering relief. Patients should also go for shoes with cushioned heels that can absorb most of the pressure. Using a heel cap or cradle to elevate the heel is another excellent option of reducing the amount of pressure and providing extra comfort.

Fallen Arches

A normal adult foot should have an upward curve in the middle of the foot. A group of tendons that attach the foot and heel bones forms this upward curve, also known as an arch. When these tendons fail to pull together, it results in a fallen arch, also known as a flat foot.
This condition may be caused by poorly designed shoes, obesity, birth deformity, torn tendons, diabetes, nerve problems, aging and broken or dislocated bones. The condition may cause pain, difficult foot movement, tiredness and swelling.

Choosing the right king of footwear can go a long way in preventing this condition. People suffering from this condition should use an orthotic with arch support and rear foot posting, which will offer relief and allow healing.

It is therefore very important to choose the right kind of footwear that will help prevent these and many more foot conditions and offer relief for those suffering from such conditions.

Image Attribution: Cyberprout

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