Our feet are one of the most neglected parts of our body but essential for more than just running. Premier Podiatry’s Trevor Prior has some tips for every day foot care that can help make you less prone to injury.
As you get older, your feet tend to spread, but few women get them measured after the age of 20. An American study called “If the shoe fits, wear it” found that nine out of 10 women are wearing shoes that are too small and, after the age of 60, some 70 per cent of women will have osteoarthritis problems in their feet.
Foot problems most commonly appear in the 40s, 50s, and 60s following decades of persevering with poorly fitting footwear. If social expectations of women’s appearance and the sort of shoes that are “acceptable” changed, then there would be far fewer foot problems. But until they do, quickly measuring your feet in shoe stores before you buy will help make sure you’re getting the right size.
Once the relative heel height of the shoe (i.e. this is the difference in thickness between the material under the heel of the shoe and the ball of the foot) exceeds around 2.5 cm (1 inch), problems ensue as this changes the position of the ligaments at the ankle making it unstable and increasing the risk of a sprain.
High heels can also equal tight calf muscles, which is a very common predisposing factor to a range of foot, ankle and leg injuries. And because weight is thrown forward, it affects your overall balance and thus posture and causes you to alter your back position and can predispose or aggravate knee, hip and back problems.
Many women choose slip on shoes made from highly flexible materials that expand and mold to the foot. So when they buy shoes that are more structured (i.e. trainers / running shoes) they buy the same size as their flats or slightly bigger, which is often far too small.
Remember, life is about a balance. If you wear good, sensible shoes when you are active, this will protect your feet. When you dress up and go out and are less active, then you will have far fewer problems.
• The average adult takes four to 6000 steps a day and our feet carry us the equivalent of five times round the earth in an average lifetime.
• Twenty percent of people think their feet are the most unattractive part of their body.
• Our feet have 250,000 sweat glands per square inch than anywhere else. The average pair gives off about half a pint of perspiration per day.