Improperly-fitting shoes, which can cause bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, and other disabling foot problems, are a huge public health risk. The following are statistics from the US, but are most likely applicable to Singapore, too, as a lot of women, for vanity’s sake are willing to endure punishment for their feet, in the name of fashion and beauty!
- Nine out of 10 women are wearing shoes that are too small for their feet.
- Eight out of 10 women say their shoes are painful.
- More than seven out of 10 women have developed bunion, hammertoe, or other painful foot deformity.
- Women are nine times more likely to develop a foot problem because of improper fitting shoes than a man.
- Nine out of 10 women’s foot deformities can be attributed to tight shoes.
The most common foot problems are bunions. Bunions are caused by wearing shoes that are too small. If the joint that connects your big toe to your foot has a swollen, sore bump, you may have a bunion.
More than half the women have bunions, a common deformity often blamed on wearing tight, narrow shoes, and high heels. If the painful swollen lump is on the outside of your foot near the base of your little toe, then it is called a bunionette (tailor’s bunion). An advanced bunion may make your foot look grotesque. If your bunion gets too severe, it may be difficult to walk. Your pain may become chronic and you may develop arthritis.
Arch Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It is due to inflammation of a thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia, which is a fibrous band of tissue running from the heel to forefoot, along the bottom of the foot. Over or under pronation causes excessive shock to the foot when walking and running. The pain is localised int eh heel and / or arch and is often extreme in the morning when first getting out of bed after prolonged rest. The chief diagnostic sign of this problem is pain at the bottom of the heel or arch when first standing, which gradually improves with walking. This pain may later return with continued walking. The pain usually subsides after a period of rest.
The Achilles tendinitis is a syndrome of irritation of the Achilles tendon in the ankle. The Achilles tendon is the large tendon in the back of the ankle that inserts into the heel bone. When individuals overuse their Achilles tendon, it becomes irritated and inflamed. This inflammation can cause pain and swelling and can lead to small tears within the tendon and make the Achilles tendon susceptible to rupture. This is often caused by repetitive, minor impact on the affected area, or from a sudden more serious injury. Incorrect posture at work or home or poor stretching or conditioning before exercise or playing sports also increases the risk.
An ingrown toenail occurs when a sharp corner of the toenail digs into the skin at the end or side of the toe. Pain and inflammation at the spot where the nail curls into the skin occurs first. The inflamed area then starts to grow extra tissue or drain yellowish fluid. Usually caused by tight-fitting shoes or high heels, the toes tend to get compressed together and pressurise the nail to grow abnormally. Improper trimming of toenails can also cause the corners of the nail to dig into the skin. Disorders such as fungal infections of the nail can also cause a thickened or widened toenail to develop.