Feet tend to be the forgotten limits of our bodies. We stand on them, expect them to carry us, neglect them and shove them into too-tight shoes. We take them for granted until something goes wrong.
Taking care of your feet doesn’t have to take long – and can pay dividends, in how they feel and look, and how well they do their job. The first thing to do is think about your footwear, something which particularly applies to women.
“Wearing high-heeled shoes for short periods – for nights out, for instance – doesn’t cause damage,” says Podiatrist Andrew Walsh of Rectory Road Podiatry (HCPC registered). “It’s when you wear them constantly that you can run into difficulties.
High heels and the Achilles tendon
"The main problem with wearing high heels is the shortening of the Achilles tendon (the large tendon that runs from your heel bone to your calf muscles). If you change suddenly from high heels to flat shoes you can cause Achilles tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon). In severe cases you could rupture the tendon and might need surgery to repair the tear.
“If you’ve been wearing high heels for a long time, you can avoid this problem by gradually reducing the height of your heel to about half an inch.”
“Court shoes are a no-no,” says Andrew. “Because they’re slip-ons, they have to be quite tight to stay on your foot. And because the opening is quite big, there’s no support."
The ideal shoe
“The ideal shoe is a lace-up made of soft leather with a rounded front, and a cushioned insole. Trainers are OK, as long as they’re good ones.
“You have to look at your body holistically,” says Andrew. “The leg and the foot have an effect on each other. For instance, your calf muscle controls the up and down movement of your foot. If your calf muscle is tight, it reduces the foot’s range of movement.”
Take a look at our article Why not to wear high heels to work for more on this topic!