The holidays are filled with excitement and adventure, whether you are headed out skiing with your friends or you are on your way to the annual office Christmas party. Although your feet might be the last things on your mind, certain wardrobe selections this season might cause issues that stick around for the long haul. Here are three types of shoes you might wear this winter and how they could harm your feet.
1. Improperly Fitting Ski Boots
Oftentimes, people make the mistake of assuming that their shoe size is a fixed number that won't change after they become adults. However, hormonal changes, body weight, and even your age can change the physical shape of your foot, which is why those ski boots that seemed to fit fine a few seasons ago may feel uncomfortable this season.
Pregnancy can relax the ligaments in your body and make your arches stretch, and the bones of your feet can actually flatten and elongate as all people age. Doctors estimate that people over the age of 40 gain about half a shoe size every ten years.
Unfortunately, if you wear athletic footwear such as ski boots and things seem a little tight, you could end up harming your foot anatomy every time you make a pass down the hill. Repetitive trauma to the toes can cause issues like skier’s toe, marked by hematomas forming underneath your nail beds. If left untreated, these hematomas can cause a significant amount of pressure and pain, making it difficult to walk. Tight ski boots can also cause friction injuries, such as blisters and chafed skin.
To stay safe and comfortable, try on your ski boots and other athletic gear well before the season starts. If you notice fit issues, consider investing in new equipment and selling your old items. In addition to protecting your feet, you can keep your ski lodge style on point.
When you want to show off at your next holiday party, you might break out those ultra-high stilettos that you bought for special occasions. Unfortunately, high heels are notoriously bad for your feet, even if they do work perfectly with that new sparkly outfit.
In addition to making it incredibly easy to roll your ankle, high heels alter the natural standing alignment of your body, while simultaneously putting excess pressure on the balls of your feet. Although most women just assume this discomfort is temporary, extra impact on the balls of your feet can cause inflammation and even hairline fractures, which can make it difficult to walk without pain.
When worn frequently, high heels can also cause problems like "pump-bump," which is a bony growth that can occur on the back bones of the heel. Once formed, this bony growth is permanent and can make it uncomfortable to wear normal flat or athletic shoes.
If you want to bolster your holiday outfit without endangering your feet, consider opting for a pair of embellished flats or a chunkier heel with more foot support. Whatever you do, never make high-heel wearing a daily occurrence, and talk with your doctor if you notice any type of discomfort.
3. Sheepskin Boots
Sheepskin boots might seem like an easy way to make your feet warm and cozy during the winter, but they can also create a harmful breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, since they don't necessarily repel water.
While suede may be soft and supple, it doesn't naturally repel water, which can mean that melting snow could make your shoes wet, and that moisture could wick into your shoes. Additionally, many sheepskin boots aren't designed with foot or arch support, which can put extra strain on your feet, legs, and back.
To protect your feet, wear your sheepskin boots around the house like slippers, and skip the outdoor excursions that could get your shoes wet. If you wear your boots frequently, invest in orthotic insoles to add an extra layer of support.
If you have been having trouble with your feet and you suspect your shoes, bring them in to your next podiatry appointment. Here at Huntsville Podiatry Center, PC, we focus on offering personalized treatment plans for all of your foot and ankle problems. With state-of-the-art equipment and a commitment to kindness, we take the hassle out of getting the help you need. Stop by our office today to schedule your next appointment.