SHOEICIDE – KILLING YOUR FEET IN AN EFFORT TO LOOK REALLY GOOD!
Minimize the time spent in high heels – Yes, heels do look great and I know it is not realistic to tell someone not to wear them. However, minimizing the time in them will help to prevent foot pain. If you have to wear them try to do it when you are going to for short periods. If you have to wear them for long periods bring a pair of flatter, more comfortable shoes in your purse to replace the heels when the coast is clear.
Reduce the slope of the heel – The higher the slope the more pressure on the delicate metatarsal heads (balls of the foot) and shortening of the arch. Reducing the heel slope will minimize pressure on the metatarsal heads and keep your arch in a better, more lengthened position.
Wear open toed heels – The narrow closed front of high heels cause compression on the toes and can cause bunions, corns and nerve injury in the ball of the foot (forefoot). Open toed shoes are less narrow and can reduce compression.
Wear a thicker heel – A thicker heel will give you better balance and help distribute the weight on your foot more evenly. Alternating heel heights can also reduce problems with the Achilles tendon and retrocalcaneal bursa.
Place a metatarsal cushion in the shoe – If you have pain in the ball of the foot invest in silicone metatarsal pads. They look like a flat gel pad and will do a great job of cushioning and absorbing the shock on those high pressure areas.
Mobility Exercises – Working on mobility can be anything from stretching to the use of foam rollers, lacrosse balls and other things to try to reduce tension in overused muscles. If you wear high heels often you should dedicate at least 10 minutes to mobility each night. Foam rollers are great for the calves, achilles and tibialis anterior (front of the lower leg). I prefer a lacrosse ball for rolling out the plantar fascia on the bottom of the feet. The most important areas for high heel wearers to mobilize is the calves and plantar fascia. Here are examples of mobility exercises for those areas:
Plantar fascia rolling with lacrosse or tennis ball
Foam rolling for the calves
Never pick a running shoe purely based on looks – We really hope this is an obvious one. If you are just hanging out not doing too much then wearing a shoe purely based on looks may be something you can get away with. However, running with improper footwear can cause many different types of overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, stress fractures, bursitis, etc…
Wide toe box – The front of the shoe is called the toe box. You want to make sure that it is wide enough to allow your foot to spread out during the push off phase of running. A shoe that is too tight in the toe box can cause metatarsalgia and morton’s neuroma’s which are two injuries in the forefoot (ball of the foot) that can be severely painful with each step.
Don’t tie your laces too tight – This is especially intended for endurance runners. Tying your shoe laces too tight can create tendonitis on the extensors (top) of the foot. It can also cause compressive trauma to the bones which can result in a stress fracture. Tie your laces snug but not too tight where it puts too much pressure on the top of your foot.
Buy a half size larger than your foot size – This will prevent rubbing of the toenails on the front of the shoe. Too much rubbing of the toes can cause a painful hematoma (blackening) of the toenail.
Make sure the shoe can bend at the bottom – A shoe that is very rigid on the bottom and does not bend much is not ideal for distance running. When the bottom of the shoe is too rigid it does not allow the foot to bend easily. Bending of the foot is important because it helps to absorb the shock of landing. Over the course of thousands of steps in a rigid shoe can cause shin splints and plantar fasciitis to develop.
Mobility Exercises…again – Working on mobility can be anything from stretching to use of foam rollers, lacrosse balls and other things to try to reduce tension in overused muscles. Runners should dedicate at least 10 minutes to mobility each night. Foam rollers are great for the calves, Achilles, tibialis anterior (front of the lower leg). I prefer a lacrosse ball for rolling out the plantar fascia on the bottom of the feet.
*Perform the previous two mobility exercises and add this one if you are a runner
Foam rolling for the tibialis anterior
Have your foot assessed by a professional – Go to your local running store that has a running biomechanics expert or go to a sports medicine therapist/physician (ex. sports chiropractor, physical therapist, podiatrist, orthopedic, etc…) well versed in running biomechanics. These people should be able to tell you which footwear is ideal for your foot type.
Stay healthy my friends,
Dr. Todd Rodman, DC, CCSP