Treat Your Feet Right


April is National Foot Health Awareness Month, which means now is a good time to take a closer look at your own feet and ask whether your shoe choice is helping or hurting them. According to Dr. Rick Miller, a podiatrist at Methodist Hospital for Surgery (MHFS) who’s been in practice for more than 35 years, shoe choice can play a major role in the overall health of feet.

Among the more common foot problems he treats, including bunions and hammer toes, most are found in women who wear high-heeled shoes (higher than an inch and a half) with an enclosed, pointy toe. This pushes toes upward and causes them to cramp, and also causes corns when toes rub against the inside of the shoe.

While Dr. Miller isn’t suggesting a woman should never pull out some killer heels for a special evening out, he does encourage sensibility in daily shoe choice. For instance, if a woman knows that in the course of the day she’ll be doing a lot of standing or walking, wearing high heels is not a good choice. However, if she’s going out to dinner and doing more sitting, then making a great entrance in high heels would be more appropriate.

But it’s not just women who need to match their shoe choice to their activities. For example, Dr. Miller often sees people at amusement parks walking around in flip-flops that offer no arch support and no protection for the toes. This shoe choice will fatigue the person wearing them more quickly than if they were wearing shoes with proper support. In a casual situation that requires lots of walking, Dr. Miller recommends a walking or running shoe that offers good support, lots of cushion and plenty of room for toes.

So what is the long-term outlook for those patients Dr. Miller sees who continue to make the wrong shoe choice? He said those patients could probably expect pain in the lower back, knees and arches, as well as deformities of the toes and ingrown toenails. To properly treat the effects of poor shoe choice, such as bunions, calluses and corns, patients should seek a medical professional to have them properly removed or trimmed, and then wear padding to keep them comfortable. If patients continue making poor shoe choices, then surgical procedures to correct deformities or even nerve damage may become necessary.

To learn more about what the podiatrists at MHFS can do to keep your feet healthy, please call 469-248-3900.

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