Standing on your own two (healthy) feet

    by Terri Daniel
    (Excerpted from the April/May issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine)

    Ladies, you won’t want to hear this, but the undisputed, #1 all-time cause of foot pain amongst women is—you guessed it—high fashion shoes. And it’s not limited to just those sexy high heels that you love so much (and admit it, you’re in pain when you’re wearing them). It includes any shoe that sacrifices function for form.

    But while shoes are a major culprit, there are dozens of factors that contribute to foot problems, and they include everything from obesity to diabetes. Genetics are also an issue, as is high-impact exercise, bad posture, stress and a variety of medical conditions.

    However, the medical condition that has the most profound effect on feet is diabetes, which, among other things, causes problems in the peripheral nervous system that serves the limbs. This type of nerve damage, called neuropathy, causes pain and/or numbness in the feet. It can also cause changes in their bone structure.

    But back to those high heels: When we squeeze our feet into them, all of our weight is shifted onto our toes and the balls of our feet. Walking around with all that pressure on those areas can cause a lot of pain and can permanently damage our feet. Not only that, it contorts our posture and balance and can cause corns, calluses, hammertoes, arthritis, bunions, chronic knee pain, sprained ankles and back problems. In fact, a team of Harvard researchers found a distinct connection between high heels and knee osteoarthritis. Interestingly, they also found that wider heels actually contribute more to the problem than skinny stiletto heels.

    Pick up the April/May issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine for a few simple tips on how to keep your toes healthy.