Foot Problems Associated with Tight Footwear
There is something to be said about fashionable footwear; however, when fashion wins over function, the result is often foot pain. When it comes to stylish footwear, many people prefer shoes that make their feet appear smaller – but you might choose shoes that are either too short or narrow for the foot by doing this.
Due to the complex anatomy of the foot, wearing tight shoes can lead to a variety of foot conditions that aren’t worth their stylish appearance.
Problems With Tight Shoes
The toes are the primary areas of the foot affected by wearing shoes that are too tight. For instance, painful ingrown toenails are often caused by wearing shoes that are either too short or narrow. Pressure against the nail bed can cause the nail to grow into the skin, rather than out.
Corns and calluses can also form on the toes as a barrier against a shoe that is too tight. Beyond callusing, a more permanent disfigurement called a bunion can form when you wear shoes that are too small. Although bunions are often hereditary, having the pressure of a shoe against a joint can help this condition progress.
Inspect your foot after wearing a new shoe. If you notice redness or indentations on your foot, these shoes could increase the risk of any of these conditions.
In other cases, the effects of wearing shoes that are too small are not visible to the naked eye. Metatarsalgia is a condition that involves pain, often in the ball of the foot.
Many bones and nerves, among other components, make up the front of the foot. Imagine taking a vice and slightly squeezing these parts together; you can also imagine the injury that may result. Over time, wearing a shoe that is too tight will have a similar effect.
A Morton’s Neuroma is a condition that involves numbness, tingling, or burning in the toes due to the thickening of the sheath around the nerve. A neuroma likely develops due to an irritation of the nerve, similar to why calluses form over a high-pressure area, both of which tight-fitting footwear can accelerate the growth of.
Getting The Right Fit
The next time you are shopping for new shoes, visit a trained professional with expertise in footwear fit and function, such as a Certified Pedorthist. We recommend going later in the afternoon when your feet are slightly swollen and at their largest size.
A fitting expert will measure the length and width of your foot, and use their knowledge of footwear brands and styles to choose the right one for you. Every brand of shoe fits slightly different. Therefore, it is important to focus on how your foot fits in the shoe rather than the number on the inside of the tongue.
Look for about half of a thumb-width of room at the end of your toe for a casual shoe, and up to a full thumb-width for an athletic shoe. Avoid shoes that are too narrow; this may cause the sides of your foot to push out and beyond the sole of the shoe.
Finally, be sure to choose a shoe that does not create initial points of friction against your foot. For example, rubbing on the tops of your toes or the backs of your heels). If you notice any issues walking around the store, it could become a bigger problem down the road.
Talk To An Expert Today!
We expect a lot from our feet, so they least we can do is to give them a break and avoid shoes that are too small. Based on my experience of fitting thousands of shoes over the past seven years, I always say that it’s better to have a shoe slightly too big than slightly too small.
Visit a Kintec location near you, and ask a fitting expert or Pedorthists about finding the proper fit for you!
Kintec Pedorthist, Chilliwack Store Manager