Friday, November 13, 2009

Sexy High-Heeled Shoes Can Be a Pain in the Foot


Ladies may feel and look great in high-heeled shoes, but their feet may not feel quite so happy. Many women forgo comfort for that little extra sexy appeal of high-heeled shoes and, even if you find heals more comfortable than flats, they are rarely the best option for your feet.

A newly released study illustrates that those people who wore or wear high-heeled shoes, or less supportive shoes, were much more likely to experience hind foot pain, a pain found around the heel of a person’s foot. While there have been previous studies that have demonstrated links between the type of shoe a person chose to wear and foot pain, most of the previous studies were very small and honed in on one specific foot problem, according to researchers leading the new study. The new study, recently released in Arthritis Care & Research, illustrated that people who wore or wear unsupportive footwear such as sandals, high heals, or slippers are more likely to suffer from foot pain later in life. The study found that even though a shoe may feel comfortable now, if the shoe is not supportive, there could be consequences later in life.

The study, headed by lead author Alyssa B. Dufour, with the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife, investigated over 3,300 foot examination records of men and women that participated in the Framingham Study, started in 1948. The study found that nearly 64 percent either of women who reportedly had worn high heels, pumps or sandals regularly at some time during their lives, had experienced hind foot pain. While there were 19 percent of the men and 29 percent of the women that experienced some sort of foot pain, researchers were unable to link the men’s issues to a shoe support problem, mainly because only two percent wore shoes deemed bad shoes.

For the study, researchers classified shoes in three groups: a good shoe, such as sneakers; an average shoe, including work boots or rubber-soled shoes; and poor shoes, those that lack support, such as high heels, sandals and slippers. Participants involved in the study answered questions as to where their foot pain was experienced and if the pain was in one or both feet. They were asked questions in regards to the types of shoes that were worn at different stages in their lives. The stages were broken down by ages including 20-29, 30-44, 45-64, 65-74, and over 75. Women who reportedly wore good shoes compared to those that wore average shoes in their pasts, were 67 percent less likely to report heal pain.

According to Dufour, foot and toe symptoms are one of the top 20 reasons adults from 65 to 75 years old see a physician. While we all want to look our best, we need to consider the consequences of what we put on our feet, not only presently, but also in our future. Based on the new research, there is definitely a benefit to wearing more supportive footwear. Ladies, while this study focused on foot pain there are other side affects of high-heels, including causing the toes to taper inward and can lead to calf muscles being smaller. Rethink wearing those unsupportive shoes regularly, and opt for the more comfortable supportive shoes. It just may save you several trips to the doctor down the line and agonizing pain.

HEALTHNEWS

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