Are Your Shoes Causing Problems With Your Feet?

Properly-fitting footwear should have little or no negative impact on our health. Poorly chosen and incorrectly-fitting footwear can harm our feet. If footwear is incorrect, short-term problems can become long-term and create a reluctance to pursue activities such as walking. Today, Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists is discussing some issues that may be caused by poorly-fitting shoes.

Corns: Corns are a lump of dead, hard skin that occurs over a bony bump, like a joint. In many cases, they are caused by sustained pressure to the specific area, typically from poorly fitting footwear. Loose shoes can cause your foot to rub and slide and cause corns.

Nail problems: Wearing socks with shoes that don’t fit properly and are too tight puts too much pressure on the sides of the toes and can push the skin into the nail plate, causing an ingrown toenail. Avoid wearing tight footwear and hosiery that can cause damage to the toenail through recurring trauma. This can also create a moist environment in which toenail fungus can occur.

Athlete’s foot: This condition is caused by a fungal species that live on the skin. It causes  inflammation, flaking of the skin, and intense itching. The condition is simultaneously uncomfortable, unsightly, and extremely contagious. Wear light, breathable shoes that won’t lock in moisture or overheat your feet. If possible, try alternating the shoes you wear to give each pair a chance to dry out between uses thoroughly.

Collapsed arches: Fallen arches, more commonly known as flat feet, occurs when a person’s feet have no or low arches and, therefore, they press flat against the ground. This typically happens when there is tightness in the Achilles tendon and the muscles at the back of the leg when walking.

Preventative Steps

The answer to avoiding these problems in both the long and short term is quite simple. Be mindful of the footwear you buy, and how often you wear a particular style. A change in footwear will encourage and enable you to walk farther and for more extended periods, leading to a healthier lifestyle.

If you’re experiencing any issues with your feet, or want to be sure you’re wearing properly-fitting footwear, contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists to schedule a consultation. Call our office today at (425) 455-0936 to book your visit or schedule an appointment online.

Guide to Choosing Summer Shoes

Choosing summer footwear that look and feel great

Summer ShoesSo long, snow boots—warm weather is here at last! But while you’re skipping through summer in your saucy sandals or padding through the sand in your favorite flip-flops, what toll will your seasonal footwear take on your hardworking feet? Nearly eight of every 10 Americans have experienced foot problems caused by wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

“Many of us increase our activity levels in the summer, and that could mean an increased risk of foot and ankle discomfort or even injury,” says Hubert Lee, DPM, a podiatrist at CarePlus Foot and Ankle Specialists and APMA member. “Plus, many of the shoes we enjoy wearing during warm weather, like flip-flops and sandals, may not always be the best choice in terms of foot health.”

Once considered only beach wear, flip-flops have gone fashionable, now showing up in offices, classrooms, and social events when warm weather arrives. But some styles may be more harmful to your feet than others and can cause blisters and foot pain. Remember the following tips when shopping for flip-flops:

  • Forego vinyl or rubber and look for high-quality, soft leather, which will minimize the potential for blisters and other irritations. APMA certifies some footwear products with its Seal of Acceptance, which tells you a team of APMA podiatrists has evaluated the footwear to ensure it allows the most normal foot function and promotes foot health. View the list of products by visiting www.apma.org/seal.
  • Like all shoes, the flip-flop should bend at the ball of the foot. Don’t buy it if the flip-flop bends completely in half.
  • Straps should fit comfortably but not be too loose or too snug. Your foot should not hang off the edge of the flip-flop. The thong between the toes should not be irritating.
  • If last year’s flip-flops show severe signs of wear, toss them and buy a new pair.
  • Don’t wear flip-flops for long walks; even the sturdiest styles don’t offer sufficient arch support and shock absorption for extended wearing. And never wear them when doing yard work or playing sports.
  • “If you suffer from heel pain or diabetes, avoid flip-flops altogether,” says Dr. Lee.

As popular as flip-flops, sandals are versatile options for warm weather footwear, but you don’t have to sacrifice foot health to look good in them. You should choose a sandal as much for its comfort and support as its fashion appeal. Fortunately, following a few simple steps can ensure your feet look and feel good in the summer’s hottest fashion sandals:

  • Flats and slides are comfy and convenient, but prolonged wearing and inadequate support and cushioning may lead to arch and heel pain. Use cushioned inserts to improve sandals’ support, and choose styles that have soles that don’t twist excessively.
  • Gladiator sandals are back in step this season, but some styles may irritate the toes and cause calluses on the heels. “Choose natural materials like soft, supple leather,” Dr. Lee suggests. Toes and heels should not hang off edges.
  • Platforms and high heels may make your legs look great, but they can also put you at risk of foot and ankle injuries. Opt for heels less than two inches high, which offer more stability.
  • Rubber soles with good traction are a must for anyone wearing wedges or espadrilles.
  • Peep-toe sandals can put a lot of pressure on your feet, causing bunions and hammertoes over time. Wear them for short periods only, and use toe inserts to improve comfort.
  • Ankle-wrap sandals often lack true ankle support, and friction from the straps may cause blisters. Choose sandals with straps made of soft, breathable material like leather, cotton, or satin. Never wrap the straps too tightly.

If you experience persistent foot pain, see a podiatrist. Feet shouldn’t hurt all the time, and if they do, it may indicate injury, irritation, or illness.

Hubert Lee, DPM, FACFAOM is a podiatrist at CarePlus Foot and Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, Washington.  Call (425) 455-0936 or visit bellevuefootdoctor.com to make an appointment. Visit www.apma.org to learn more about foot health and care.