Shoes come in all different shapes, sizes and styles, but some do a better job than others at protecting our feet from injury. In fact, some shoes actually increase our risk of developing certain foot conditions. That’s not to say that you should never wear these types of shoes, but you should be mindful of how these footwear options can put abnormal strain on your feet. Below, we take a closer look at five different types of shoes that can increase your risk of certain foot conditions.

These Shoes Can Increase Your Foot Injury Risk

As we mentioned in the introduction, we don’t expect you to completely avoid these shoes, but you may want to limit your time in them and be aware of the different ways they can stress your feet.

  1. High Heels – High heels contort our feet into an unnatural position, elevating the heel and putting abnormal stress on the front of the foot. One of the most common issues that can develop as a result of prolonged high heel use is the formation of a bunion. The stress placed on the front of the foot can cause the big toe joint to shift out of its natural alignment, leading to the formation of a bony prominence on the side of your foot. This can cause pain and discomfort when wearing any type of shoe, and the bunion won’t shift back into the correct location on its own, so if you let it get bad enough, a visit with a foot specialist is your only option for relief.
  2. Cleats – Cleats are necessary for a number of different sports, but they also can cause issues if you aren’t careful. Most athletes want a pretty tight-fitting cleat, and while this can help provide better ankle support than a looser shoe, this tightness can also put pressure on all areas of your foot and lead to problems. Ingrown toenails are especially common in athletes who regularly wear tight-fitting shoes. Athlete’s foot and blisters can also develop if you sweat a lot and your cleats are wet and moist.
  3. Sandals – Sandals are a light and breathable footwear option that can be great in the summertime, but you probably don’t want to make them your main footwear choice when it’s warm out. Sandals typically aren’t the most supportive shoe and they rarely contour well to your individual foot arch, which can lead to painful or fallen arches. Thong sandals can be particularly problematic if you have to clench your toes when you walk to keep them on your foot, as this can lead to toe ligament issues like claw toes or hammertoes.
  4. Narrow Dress Shoes – Narrow dress shoes aren’t as common as they were a few decades ago, but odds are you’ll still see plenty of pointed-toe shoes at the next wedding you attend. While these shoes can look sleek and fashionable, they are extremely hard on your toe box. Like high heels, these narrow-toed shoes can shift our toe joints and lead to the formation of bunions or bunionettes. Opt for shoes with a wider toe box for business casual or formal occasions.
  5. Wrong Sized Shoes – Finally, shoes that are too big or too small for our feet can cause a host of issues. Adults can typically find shoes that fit well, but your children may not be as vocal about letting you know that their shoes aren’t fitting properly. If their feet have grown too big or they aren’t really filling out a hand-me-down pair from an older sibling, they can develop blisters, calluses or sores. Let your kids know that they need to tell you if their shoes are feeling too tight or too loose.

Hopefully you can avoid these foot issues, but if you or your child develop any foot problems due in part to footwear choice, Dr. McDonald and his team would be more than happy to help treat the issue. For more information, reach out to his office today at (860) 244-8889.

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