Fall will be here very soon and as the leaves start to change colors so will your shoe wardrobe. Enjoying the luxury of being able to wear fashion and casual sandals as well as flip flops for the last 5 months was a welcomed relief for your feet. They were free and happy walking on soft sandy beaches along the ocean. Those lumps and bumps which usually get red and irritated in closed shoes had a nice vacation and had a chance to calm down. Unfortunately it is now time to say good bye to those shoes and welcome back the ones that made your feet miserable at times, pointy-toed closed shoes, pumps and boots. You know the ones, Ouch! So, start rotating your shoes and tuck the summer ones in, so they can get some rest.
The questions are, how do closed shoes affect your feet and what can be done to make fall shoe wear more comfortable.
Closed shoes can aggravate the lumps and bumps on your feet such as hammer toes and bunions. Hammer toes increase the chances of developing corns and calluses on the tops or bottoms of your feet. Hammer toes occur when your toe starts to buckle causing a prominence to develop. It is a bone problem causing a skin problem. Corns will form on prominent boney areas on the tops of the toes (the head of the proximal phalanx) when it repeatedly rubs against the inner lining of the shoes toe box. When walking in closed shoes the foot has a tendency to slide forward causing friction to occur on the tops of the toes and burning on the balls of the foot. The skin becomes thickened, red and painful making walking difficult. Ultimately you end up wearing the shoes into a restaurant and then kicking them off once you are seated.
Bunions are boney prominences that can form on the top and side of the great toe bone (first metatarsal bone) and can cause shoe issues because they will cause the foot to widen making it a nightmare to find the right closed shoe to wear. Bunions develop because of abnormal pronation, which is the collapsing of the arch over a prolonged period of time. The muscles in the arch will eventually weaken and fatigue allowing the great toe to drift towards the second toe forming the bump on the great toe. No one wakes up in the morning and discovers that they have just developed a bunion!
Callus formation on the ball of the foot is another common problem caused by wearing closed shoes. Weather you are wearing flats or high heel shoes the skin on the bottom of your foot can get thicker becoming painful when walking. The pitch of the shoe forces the ball of the foot to be prominent to the ground. High heels pitch the foot forward and place the ball of the foot on the ground. This causes friction and rubbing against the floor of the shoe and can cause problems when walking.
Arch cramps or muscle spasms are another common problem seen when wearing closed shoes such as high heels or flats. Women who have flat feet are more prone to sore and tired feet. As the arch collapses because of abnormal pronation during walking the muscles in the arch of the foot will fatigue over time and get tired. When standing and walking all day in pointy-toed pumps or boots, the muscles in the feet will eventually cramp causing pain and spasms.
Finally, some feet have a tendency to slide forward when wearing shoes because the shoe may be too wide or the heel bone is narrow popping the heel out of the shoe. This event causes the toes to grab the ground causing the arch to eventually cramp too. Ouch! Kicking your shoes off and walking barefoot or massaging the arch can help relive the cramping or muscle spasm.
In order to walk "happily ever after " this fall make sure you have enough room in your shoes to allow your toes to freely wiggle and not get squashed. The inner lining of the toe box of the shoe should not be rubbing on the tops and sides of your toes. Often times going to your local shoe repair shop can help solve a shoe problem. They have ways of stretching the shoe slightly to create space for your lumps and bumps. If you have hammer toes that constantly get irritated when wearing shoes, try using over the counter corn products such as toe sleeves that have a gel coating which can slip over the individual painful hammer toes. To prevent arch cramping, heel slippage and callous formation when walking in pumps and boots, place a soft arch support in the arch of the shoe which will prevent the arch from collapsing. Stopping the collapsing of the arch will help eliminate abnormal pronation, heel slippage, and friction the foot goes through with each step. My Instant Arches are just one of the over the counter arch products on the market that will make shoes more comfortable, stop the foot from sliding forward and reduce arch problems. Applying a thin soft insole in the shoes will help eliminate friction and burning in the ball of the foot.
So as summer winds down and the weather begins to change" be kind to your feet and walk happily ever after" in fall shoe wear!