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Can wrong footwear cause health problems?

By RAJEEV SURANA
Last updated on: July 23, 2021 12:45 IST
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A lot of the knee pain you experience could be due to wearing the wrong footwear, explains Rajeev Surana, co-founder, CMM, a foot solutions company.

Can the wrong footwear cause health problems?

Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels.com

According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information data, approximately 72% people wear inappropriate sized footwear.

This is associated with all kind of foot problems like foot pain, poorer overall foot health, corns and calluses in older people and foot ulceration in older people with diabetes.

Diabetic foot syndrome is one of the common and most distressing but preventable complications of diabetes mellitus.

According to experts, even if you have fallen arches (flat feet) or cracked heels, chances you will ignore it or wait for it to escalate before you decide to pay attention to it.

Remember, your feet are the foundation of your body and it is crucial that you take care of it.

Here are some of the most common foot problems and what you can do about it.

1. Fallen arches or Flat Feet

The arches on our feet act as our 'shock absorbers' to ensure it can take the impact of walking, running, jumping and other physical activity we indulge in thus ensuring the impact is not carried to our ankle, knee and lower back joints keeping it insulated.

But about 40% of the population have flat feet of varying proportions which can cause pain and affect our performance.

The best solution is to wear footwear with arch support or arched insoles for additional support and comfort.

2. Heel pain

The heel region of our foot is soft and supple.

If you wear footwear without proper heel cushioning and heel cup, it will hurt your heel causing further discomfort and pain.

You need to ensure that your footwear has a heel cup which will rest your heel while the cushioning will provide it the much necessary comfort.

3. Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS can prove to be very annoying especially if it occurs in the night.

It can affect your sleep and in most cases, the victim does not know the reasons for the same.

The main reason for RLS is that the nerves of the legs are disturbed and needs to be corrected by exercises and physiotherapy.

If you experience restless feet at night, it's time to see a doctor.

4. Bunion or bone out growth

Bunion or bone out growth is again caused due to wearing tight footwear.

When you wear an irregular size footwear over a period of time it causes the outgrowth of bone on the feet.

It can be very painful and needs to be dealt with by wearing special bunion footwear.

You may also wear sandals or open footwear which makes the bunion more bearable.

5. Calluses or Cone

Cone occurs on the metatarsal part of your foot and is specially a major concern for diabetic patients.

One can wear specially designed insoles and footwear to ensure that the cone region is healed ensuring quick recovery.

6. Knee pain

A lot of the knee pain you experience could be due to your wearing the wrong footwear or a pre-existing foot condition.

Knee pain can be attributed due to fallen arches, an extension of your ankle pain or can be a case of knee osteoarthritis which occurs due to arthritis in the knee.

Even those who have undergone knee surgery need to ensure they wear supportive footwear to ensure their knee is in good condition.

You would be surprised to note that 'Knee pain' is the most searched key word as per Google Trends both in India and globally with regards to foot related pain and issues.

If your foot has deformities or if it is not well supported the pain can travel up to the ankle and the knee.

7. Diabetic foot condition

India has the maximum number of diabetic patients in the world. These people run the risk of neuropathy whereby they lose sensation in their nerves.

This means that if there is a cut or injury, a diabetic patient will not realise the same as also it takes a lot of time for healing the same.

Hence it is always advised that diabetic patients manage good feet hygiene to avoid any kind of damage to their nails, toe or the feet itself.

Also the footwear they wear should be soft with a shore hardness ranging from 20 to 25 which is to ensure it is soft enough that their feet does not hurt or give them a cut neither is it so soft that it fails to provide them support.

If foot condition is ignored in diabetic patients it can lead to diabetic foot or gangrene which can even lead to amputation in some scenarios.

8. Foot length abnormality (FLA)

One may not realise but there are lot of cases where one’s right feet is shorter than the left feet or vice versa which can cause foot pain and other complications going forward.

Those facing FLA need to go for customised footwear where the right and left side of the shoe, sandals or even insoles will be made to measure as per their foot length ensuring they get the right fit and comfort.

You can also get in touch with experts like a podiatrist or an orthotist who are expert at dealing with foot and ankle related issues.

9. Sweaty Feet

We have often come across those with sweaty feet and invariably they are smelly too.

The reason this happens is because moisture in the feet leads to growth of bacteria on the feet which leads to foul smell and bad odour.

This is a very common issue and should not be ignored.

The best way to keep your feet away from such as bad odour is to face your feet regularly especially before going to bed.

If you are too lazy, use foot wipes or wet tissues to clean your feet thoroughly before going to bed.

There are foot sprays available as well which can be used for the same.

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RAJEEV SURANA