In order to be able to understand the physical problems associated with ill fitting footwear, it is necessary to understand the foot itself.
While infants are born with many more potential bones in their bodies, as they mature many of those potential bones fuse together, and so at maturity the body ends up with 206 bones. The foot ends up with 26 bones, only 2 less than the most bone populated area of the body; the hand, which has 28 bones.
The construction of the foot is similar to the construction of the Eiffel Tower. Each bone connected to and supporting the structure of the entire foot and carrying the entire weight of the body.
The foot has the consistency of its dimensions. The heel of the foot is usually two sizes narrower than the foot at it's widest part which is across the balls of the foot. This is the area across the foot, behind the large toe and behind the little toe. ( i.e. a 7 B has a 7 AA heel, a 7 AA has 7 AAAA heel, a 7 C has a 7 A heel etc.)
That is why most properly manufactured shoes are made with "Combination Lasts" on which the heel is two widths narrower that the width at the Ball of the last.( a last is a model of the foot around which the upper is attached during the manufacturing of the footwear).
It is a mistake to think that after you have reached maturity your footwear size remains static. Change is possible even without weight gain. One's shoe size can change every five years or so, and as a consequence the foot should be re-measured periodically as one ages. As We grow older the arch tends to fall and thus the length of the foot can increase. If one adds weight to their body the foot becomes larger also in both width and length.
Now let us consider some of the problems that not properly fitting the foot, or wearing shoes that do not allow the foot to function in the proper amount of space (too short or too narrow) or in the correct position (as high heels do).
These are Back Problems, Bunions, Corns, Hammer Toes and the Pain that is associated with these conditions.
Ill fitting shoes are one of the most Significant Causes of Back Pain, by causing improper posture, improper gaits while walking and yes, can even cause head aches.
To simulate a bunion, hold your thumb in between the fingers of the other hand and push back. Notice the joint at the back becomes distended very similar to a bunion that wearing short shoes for extended periods of time can cause at the joint behind the big toe. This is the result of wearing ill fitting shoes ( either too short or with high heels) for long periods of time. Having the foot confined in too short of length or in high heels causing the weight of the body to press the large toe against the front part of the shoe is what causes this. This problem can be exacerbated by toes that are too pointed and creating a situation of being too short in space necessary for the large toe to extend, putting excess back pressure on the large toe.
Requiring Bunion Surgery to remove the dislocated bone could be a result, and the bunion itself besides being unattractive can cause a shoe fitting nightmare because it requires a wider size shoe, causing the front of the foot to require a wider size of the shoe which would have a wider heel than the heel of the foot and causing the heel of the shoe to slip up and down. ( Remember "Combination Lasting" ); so if the front of your foot, due to the bunion requires a C width, the shoe will have an A width heel instead of a AA heel and can cause your heel to slip in and out causing blisters.
Corns are a result of excessive pressure on toes by the shoe or the shoe causing excessive pressure pushing one toe against another toe thus causing a corn in between the toes. In rare instances corns can develop on the bottom of the foot.
They form a root that grows into the flesh and causes a great deal of pain.
Hammer toes are best described by taking the first joint of the middle finger on one hand and pushing back. The next joint is pushed up and if kept in that position long enough (remember shoes are usually worn 2/3 of the day) the joint dislocates permanently and stays up. The constant pressure of the shoe upper can cause a corn on the top. And just the constant pressure can be painful. This condition usually occurs when the second toe is longer than the big toe or in the case of pointed shoes a lack of space for the second toe to extend fully.
It does not take too much imagination to understand the constant discomfort and pain that is experienced because of these afflictions, and the negative impact it can have on one's disposition and quality of life.
Fashion has always been and will always continue to be a major factor in the style of footwear worn, but the DURATION of use of the footwear is controllable by the wearer
Things to remember when buying footwear:
1. One foot is larger than the other. Always have both feet measured, and Always fit the larger foot.
2. Buy shoes late in the day as the foot becomes larger as the day progresses and gravity and fluid accumulation cause size increases.
3. Try both shoes on and walk on a hard surface not just the carpeted area. Shoes should not require "breaking in" to be comfortable
4. There should be room for your toes in the front of the shoe so they are not hitting the end of the shoe.
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