Can Ill-Fitting Shoes Affect Your Health?

Tired, achy feet? Get a massage.

In the last week or so feet have been the big deal in our Portland practice, everyone is having trouble, either with bunions, hammer toes, neuromas, plantar fascitis or complaining of pain in their big toe.

According to the National Institute on Aging, your foot health can be a clue to your overall wellness. “For example, joint stiffness could mean arthritis. Tingling or numbness could be a sign of diabetes. Swelling might indicate kidney disease, heart disease or high blood pressure.”

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Twenty-five percent of the bones of your body are located in your feet. When any one bone is misaligned your entire body is affected. You may not even recognize it as a foot problem, rather your knee, hip, low back or even shoulders may be reacting to an issue with the foot.

Many of the problems associated with your feet come from ill-fitting shoes, and can be corrected if treated early. If they are left untreated, you may find you that you require surgery eventually. Foot surgery is one of the most painful surgeries you can have and in the end, there is no guarantee that the pain will disappear.

Recently, we went to a local shoe store, Ashley’s Footwear in Oregon City, that specializes in helping people find shoes that actually fit to help relieve some of the most common causes for foot pain. Most of their shoe have very ample toe boxes and removable inserts, allowing you to add your own orthotic or specialized inserts comfortably.

Ashley’s staff is well-versed in matters of the foot — they will measure your feet and help you come up with just the right fit for you. They also have a huge variety of “feet first” shoe brands offering different fun and fashionable looks, not just the utilitarian. But the number one thing we like about Ashley’s is that they take the time to educate people about caring for their feet.

Ouch! My feet are killing me.

While talking to one of their salespeople, she mentioned just how often they have to work with people that are in denial about their role in having damaged feet. They’ve seen it all,  people who’ve worn toenails completely off by wearing shoes that are too narrow or who have crowded their toes so much they rest on each other but these folks continue to insist that they don’t wear the wrong size shoes.

One thing they shared that many of us may never have been taught (we know we weren’t) is that you should rotate your shoes every 2 to 3 days to allow them to dry. If you don’t bacteria will make them deteriorate at a rate 2 to 3 times faster than normal.

Often when people are having pain in their feet, they will find one pair of shoes that fits well and wear them until they are completely worn out — putting off replacing them until they’re falling apart.
The shoes sold at Ashley’s, of course, won’t compete with the deals at Payless. There are no BoGo events or trendy buys but then again, we’re talking about your foundation. Isn’t it worth a little investment in your health. The brands they carry are well-made, incredibly durable and can be re-soled and tuned up with new inserts (for a small fee)  allowing you to extend the life of the shoe even further, while maintaining a shoe that fits well.

While we can and will help you get your feet back in shape, nothing beats a good foundation. Remember, like anything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Treat your feet right and they will support you in good health for a very long time.

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