Shoes can be worn for both fashion and function, but if we focus too much on the fashion and not enough on the function of the shoe, problems can develop for our ankles and feet. That’s not to say that you can’t wear that fashionable pair of shoes to a wedding or out for the night, but it’s not a good idea to get in the habit of wearing the wrong shoes or footwear that doesn’t fit properly. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some of the foot problems that can develop if you consistently wear the wrong shoes.

Avoid Wearing The Wrong Shoes

Shoes can be wrong for a number of different reasons; they can be too tight, too loose, unsupportive in the foot arch, too narrow in toe box or wrong for the activities you’ll be performing that day, so be smart about which shoes you choose each day. If you don’t, here are four problems that you may be increasing your risk of developing.

  1. Bunions – Bunions are commonly caused by shoes that are too tight on the toes, especially near the big toe joint. Over time this compression can gradually shift the big toe joint, leaving you with a bony prominence on the inside of your foot at the big toe. Left untreated, the deformity only tends to get worse, and by then your only option may be corrective surgery. Excess use of high heels or shoes with a narrow toe box can lead to bunion formation.
  2. Plantar Fasciitis – If you feel a sharp pain on the underside of your heel and foot arch, especially if it occurs during your first few steps in the morning, you may be dealing with plantar fasciitis. Caused by inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects your heels to your toes, plantar fasciitis can develop or be worsened by wearing the wrong shoes for the activity. If your foot and your arch aren’t adequately supported when you’re running, jumping or exercising, you could be putting more strain on the plantar fascia, in turn increasing its risk of becoming inflamed. Wear supportive shoes if you’ll be on your feet a lot throughout the day.
  3. Ingrown Toenails – Another issue that is most commonly caused by poor-fitting shoes is ingrown toenails. When your toes and the nail bed are exposed to chronic pressure, it can shift how the nail bed forms, possibly leading to the formation of an ingrown toenail that begins pushing into the soft skin around the nail edges. These tend to be more common in athletes that want a very form-fitting shoe, like runners and soccer players. If your shoes are too tight, it’s time to replace them, otherwise you’re at risk for painful ingrown toenails.
  4. Hammer Toes – A final issue that again is most commonly brought upon by ill-fitting shoes is a hammer toe. When your toes don’t have enough room, they’ll inherently bend at the joint in order to allow your foot to “fit” inside the shoe. If your toes have to hold this bent position for a long time or every day, the ligaments and tendons that connect areas in your toe joint can become less flexible. You may even find that your toes start to take on a bent appearance when they aren’t inside a pair of toes. Addressing a hammer toe in an early stage is essential, because you may be able to regain some flexibility in these soft tissues. Left untreated, and you may develop rigid hammer toes that can really only be effectively treated with surgery. Shoes that are too tight and worn in excess are the most common culprit for hammer toe formation.

For more information about any of these conditions, or to talk to a specialist about what you should look for in a shoe based on the activities you’ll be performing in them, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.

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