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What Everyone Needs to Know About Foot Pain and Shoes

Millions of Americans suffer from foot pain. There are many causes of foot pain from injuries to heredity to disease states – but did you know that one of the most common causes of foot pain is not wearing the right kind of shoes?

No matter the type of shoe, footwear has basically been designed for:

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  • Comfort
  • Protection
  • Support
  • Style

Unfortunately, many of us neglect the first three and jump right to the fourth – and select a shoe mainly for its style.

Women, men, and children each have unique footwear needs, and shoes should be selected accordingly.

Proper Footwear for Women

Women put more abuse on their feet from improper footwear than men or children. Stiletto pumps may be the right accessory for that slinky evening gown, but they may not be the best choice for your foot!

Most podiatrists agree that high-heels are a poor footwear choice. They can lead to not only foot pain, but also poor posture, and even have been known to cause serious injuries from slips and falls!

Podiatrists know it may be difficult to give up high-heels altogether, but suggest that women limit the time they wear them by alternating with good quality sneakers or flats for part of the day.

Another option is to look for so-called “walking” pumps. These shoes are also called “comfort” or “performance” pumps, and are a better alternative for work and social activities because they offer a smaller heel and a blend of fashion and comfort.

The Right Shoe for the Right Activity

Just as you need the right tool for the right job, match your shoes to the activity. Wearing the right shoe for what you are doing can make a big difference.

But perhaps the best all-around shoe for women is a laced walking shoe, with a polymerized composite sole, and relatively wide and padded heel that is no more than three-quarters of an inch in height.

The Best Shoes for Men

Generally speaking the best daily wear shoes for businessmen are good quality oxfords, or slip-ons, or low dress boots. However, for men who spend most of their working days on their feet, cushioned-sole shoes that give good support are recommended.

Men who work in heavy industry are advised to wear the safety shoes and boots that have been designed for that purpose, such as waterproof, or water-resistant steel-toed work boots, to help prevent or reduce injuries to the feet.

For men as well as women, a good fitting, comfortable athletic shoe, or cross-trainer, should be worn for any sports activities. More serious athletes should invest in specific athletic shoes made for specific sports, such as running or basketball shoes.

Choosing the Right Footwear for Kids

Children grow out of shoes very quickly. Most of the problems relating to footwear for kids come from wearing improperly sized shoes. When fitting children’s shoes always:

  • Make sure the child’s foot is sized while he or she is standing up
  • Make sure there is at least one-half inch of space between the tip of the toes and the end of the shoe. The child should be able to wiggle his or her toes in the shoe.
  • Have children walk around the store wearing the shoe, and ask if they feel any pressure points in the shoe

Whether you are a star athlete or just a busy soccer mom, podiatrists agree that proper footwear is the best way to prevent the agony of “de-feet.”

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