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Look around any crowded city street, and you'll see plenty of footwear— from stiletto heels to platform shoes— that is more than a little unkind to our feet. It's no wonder that foot pain is such a common complaint. But it's not just our feet that are hurting. Improper footwear places strain on the knees, hips and back. According to Karen Achtermann, DC, your feet serve three purposes: support, locomotion and shock absorption. So, support your body by following these guidelines for proper footwear.
Women, listen up: The higher the heel on your shoe, the greater the amount of stress placed on your forefoot. High-heeled shoes can contribute to the collapse of one or more of the foot's three arches. These shoes also place undue stress on the ankle, which can lead to ankle instability and sprains. Plus, when you wear high-heels your calf muscles shorten, warns Achtermann. Then, if you alternate between high heels and flat shoes, your calf muscles go through a shorten/lengthen cycle that can lead to pelvic imbalances and low back pain.
Many chiropractors recommend orthotics. There are two kinds of orthotics: the simple, commercially-made insoles that are available at outdoor sports or shoe stores, and custom orthotics. Custom orthotics are superior since they are tailored to your individual foot and are designed to correct for your particular imbalances. These are created by making an impression of each foot called a cast, and then correcting for specific misalignments. According to Achtermann, custom orthotics help to prevent dysfunction of the lower body and legs, and decrease spinal stress.
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