Women, Shoes and Foot Problems

Do women have more foot problems than men? Yes, especially as they age. Years of frequent high heal wear, tight fitting and other high-end fashionable shoes can cause permanent damage. The price we often pay to look good. So it is important for women, especially if they are shoe conscious, to be aware of potential problems.

Blisters - Blisters are caused by the friction of shoes against the skin. Blisters should not be ruptured. Applying a moleskin or bandage helps.

Bunions - Bunions are misaligned big toe joints where the big toe slants toward the second toe. This can cause the joints to become swollen and tender, especially if aggravated by tight shoes. Wearing wider shoes, as well as cushioning pads or shoe inserts, can help.

Corns and calluses - Corns and calluses are thick, hardened layers of skin that develop where the foot frequently rubs against the shoe. Moleskin or padding may relieve pain or discomfort.

Hammertoes - Hammertoe is a condition where a toe, often the second, bends like a claw. It's often a result of a misaligned muscle but it can be aggravated if a person wears ill-fitting shoes. On occasion, surgery is needed to realign the toes.

Ingrown toenails - Ingrown toenails caused by improper clipping can cause the toenail to grow into the skin. Be careful about trying to resolve an infected ingrown toenail yourself as it can become worse. Though it may seem an inconvenience visit your family doctor to help with the proper and sterile resolution of the problem. 

Joint pain - Joint pain in the ball of the foot or metatarsalgia is a condition commonly caused by wearing high heels. Discomfort can be relieved through applying ice to the foot and avoiding further stress.

Neuroma - In the foot, a neuroma is a nerve that becomes irritated and swells up. Once a nerve is swollen it can rub against the bone or ligaments . causing more pain, inflammation and keeping the nerve swollen. Thus the cycle is sometimes difficult to resolve without the help of a physician. Pain from a neuroma is usually felt on the ball of the foot.

Plantar Fasciitis – Plantar faciitis occurs when there is increased stress on the arch, microscopic tears can occur within the plantar fascia, usually at its attachment on the heel. This results in inflammation and pain with standing and walking and sometimes at rest.  While ice massage and gentle stretching may help as a home remedy, often resolution requires visits to a physical therapist and treatments with ultrasound and other techniques.

Achilles tendinitis - Achilles tendinitis is usually caused by high heels. Through elevating the heel, high heel shoes prevent the Achilles tendon from full stretching. The result is the shortening of the tendon. Rest and ice can relieve pain short term and stretching and orthotic devices may ease long term discomfort. And then there is avoiding high heels.

Athlete’s Foot -  Athlete’s foot can affect non-athlete’s as easily as our in shape counterparts. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection. The fungi thrive in the warm and moist areas of the body such as the feet – usually between sweaty toes. Unprotected feet pick up the fungus through contact – often in shared locker room facilities, swimming pools, etc. Symptoms include, hot, itching, peeling and cracking skin. Solutions are readily available in the local pharmacy. But the cure takes consistent use of anti-fungal sprays and creams and making sure that feet are well-washed and dry. Long term solution may require changing to a more loose fitting and open shoe style.

Overall, medical professionals stress wearing shoes that fit – that let your feet breathe. Shoes, even fashionable ones should not cramp your feet. Next, wash your feet every day and then keep them dry – especially if your feet tend to sweat. And finally, wear fresh sock very day.

Simple solutions – now we only have to follow the advice.

 


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