5 Conditions Linked to Your Shoes

Shoes changed the way we exist as humans. They allow us to traverse the world with less risk of getting hurt. As our shoes have changed, our society has changed, too.

All told, shoes matter. This isn’t an area to ignore comfort or functionality. In fact, a number of common foot conditions can be caused by ill-fitting or unsupportive footwear.

That’s why Kyle Durfey, DPM, and Brian Hiapo, DPM, help all of our patients at Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center find the right shoes. At our office in Laveen, Arizona, we have helped countless people reduce their foot pain simply by changing their footwear. 

Here are five foot conditions that can develop if you wear shoes that aren't right for your feet. 

1. Plantar fasciitis

Your plantar fascia ligament connects your heel to the front of your foot, and it absorbs shock when you walk. If this ligament gets strained, the condition is called plantar fasciitis, and it can cause heel or foot pain.

This commonly occurs due to wearing soft-soled shoes without sufficient arch support, because doing so can put too much strain on this ligament. If you spend a lot of time on your feet, make sure you wear supportive shoes.

2. Bunions

If pressure continually causes the big toe to press in toward the other toes, this can cause the toe to get out of alignment and also cause a bony growth — a bunion — to develop at the base of the toe. 

Tight shoes can cause this pressure. High heels are particularly notorious for contributing to bunions, because they can force toes together. The best way to prevent getting bunions is to wear shoes that have plenty of room in the toe box.

3. Corns

Corns — which are areas of hardened skin — are similar to calluses, but they usually grow on the tops or sides of your toes. You can differentiate corns and calluses by their centers. Corns have a hard center, while calluses don’t.

Tight shoes that rub on your toes or cause your toes to rub together can contribute to the development of corns. If you notice your toes rubbing as you walk, switch to roomier shoes.

4. Hammertoe

When your foot is relaxed, your toes should lay flat. If a toe forms an arch, with the middle joint at the peak, you may have what’s called a hammertoe. This condition is usually caused because the tendons, muscles, or ligaments in the toe become imbalanced due to pressure on the toe. Tight shoes are often the cause for this pressure. To avoid getting this condition, wear shoes that are roomier in the toe box.

5. Ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails develop when a corner of your toenail grows into your skin. Ingrown toenails are often caused by bad grooming habits. Toenails should be trimmed straight across and not rounded. 

However, tight shoes can also lead to the development of ingrown toenails. High heels are particularly problematic, and even socks that are too tight can encourage a toenail to grow into the surrounding skin. 

Wearing properly fitting shoes and supportive footwear can help you avoid a number of foot conditions. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to throw out your favorite shoes, though. If you have a pair of shoes you love that are causing you foot pain, talk to Dr. Hiapo and Dr. Durfey about orthotics. In some cases, these custom shoe inserts can resolve your footwear problem and keep your feet healthy.

For help finding the right footwear or to treat any of the above conditions, book an appointment online or over the phone with Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center today.

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