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Are you wearing the right footwear?

By Tista Sengupta
June 10, 2016 14:17 IST
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If you are wearing a closed pair of shoes, there should be half a centimetre space between your longest toe and the shoe.

Be it women or men, a little bit of heel is a must. If you wear flat footwear, you might get Metatarsalgia.

Did you know that crocs and similar kind of footwear can cause severe foot problems?

Read on to find out how you can pick the right footwear.

Photograph: Kind Courtesy Crocsbrasil/Instagram

Monsoons are soon to set in! And some of you may prefer getting out those comfortable rubber clogs.

Most people relate to this style of footwear popularly known by the brand's name (Crocs) itself.

Now if you already own a pair of these rubber clogs or crocs, you certainly know how comfortable they are.

Raining or not, you can walk in them with such ease... isn't it?

And that's not it.

They come in so many bright colours. They are fashionable and can be cleaned easily. They are your best travel companions.

So many reasons to wear these rubber clogs, then why do doctors think that you should discard them right away.

In a recent report by HuffPost, Dr Megan Leahy, a Chicago-based podiatrist (doctors who diagnose and treat conditions of the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg) with the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute said, "Unfortunately crocs are not suitable for all-day use."

"They offer nice arch support, but the shoes don't adequately secure the heels. The same thing can happen with flip flops or any backless shoe," Dr Leahy added.

Surprised? Shocked?

We connected with Indian podiatrists who shared their thoughts on how harmful such kind of footwear is and what you should do about it. Read on.

Are crocs really bad for you?

IMAGE: 'These shoes have an in-built arch to support the foot. But people who travel or walk for long, should definitely avoid them,' said Dr Pradeep Moonot. Photograph: Kind Courtesy Crocseu/Instagram

Those who have to stand or walk for too long, stop wearing crocs or similar kinds of shoes.

According to Dr Pradeep Moonot, an orthopaedic surgeon from Mumbai, "Such shoes do not provide ample support to the feet. When a person walks, his/her footwear should be properly attached to the foot.

"If you wear footwear like crocs, it's your feet holding the shoes. Every time you wear them you hold and tighten up all the muscles. It's fine to walk in them for a short distance or wear it at home."

Men, women and even children swear by these rubber clogs now-a-days, but if you have ever felt pain in your feet and toes when you wear these shoes for long, it's time to take the issue seriously. This happens only when your feet doesn't get much support.

Don't get surprised if you end up suffering from Achilles Tendinitis -- a condition that causes pain along the back of the leg near the heel.

In fact, wearing backless shoes (shoes that don't support the heel) on a daily basis isn't a good choice too. And it's mostly women who suffer from several foot and leg issues.

"The chappals women wear these days are too flat and they don't know the appropriate size they should be wearing.

"I have had patients complaining of foot issues caused due to poor choice of footwear. The cure totally depends on what stage the patient comes to me.

If they come in early, Dr Monoot recommends a change of footwear style along with physiotherapy.

"But if they come in the later stage and the deformities are fixed, then surgical intervention may be required," he says.

"I would only prescribe a person with flat foot and an high arched foot to wear crocs or such kind of shoes. These shoes have an in-built arch to support the foot. But people who travel or walk for long, should definitely avoid them."

Now does it mean you should get rid of crocs completely?

Dr Govind Singh Bisht, a podiatrist at Max Hospital, Gurgaon -- who clearly mentioned that he doesn't want to comment anything negative about a product -- thinks that crocs are broad and have a bit of shock absorption power which is good for the feet.

He also said that the motion control (that is found in shoes with heel counters -- the part that forms the back of a shoe or the boot) at times goes missing in this footwear.

He further added that if one wears a closed pair of shoe, the heel should be well-padded and well-cushioned.

What kind of footwear should you pick?

IMAGE: Wearing flat strappy sandals or chappals with very thin soles often can lead to several foot problems. Photograph: Kind Courtesy Crocsbrasil/Instagram

Most doctors advice their patients to wear closed shoes, but owing to the climatic conditions in India, most of us tend to wear open toe shoes.

Dr Govind suggests, "Never wear the same footwear daily. The material of the shoe might have the tendency of absorbing moisture that can cause fungal infection.

"Expose your footwear in the sun. Shoes made of synthetic material should be used less. It might cause irritation in the skin."

We list few points that doctors want you to keep in mind.

  • The concept of flat strappy sandals or chappals and shoes with very thin soles, especially the ones women wear are a big NO.
  • The sole of the shoe should be at least 1 to 1 and 1/2 cm. It helps in cushioning and taking the body weight.
  • The material of the sole should be made of foam or rubber. It can also be a mix of foam and leather too.
  • Be it women or men, a little bit of heel is a must. If you wear flat footwear, you might get Metatarsalgia (a medical condition in which there's pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot).
  • Women who like wearing heels should not wear it for a long period of time. They can wear a 4 cm heel.
  • A thin shoe strap holds the whole foot onto the shoes. It's a big mistake that most people do. Wear multiple straps, thicker straps or lace up shoes instead.
  • Patients with Achilles Tendinitis should wear a low counter shoe.
  • If you are wearing an open toe shoe, remember half a centimetre of the sole should be seen around your whole foot.
  • It doesn't matter if your first or the second toe is long. If you are wearing a closed pair of shoes, there should be half a centimetre space between your longest toe and the shoe.
  • Always go out shopping in the afternoon. As the day goes by, everyone gets a bit of swelling in the feet. If you are out shopping in the evening, the next day morning when you wear your shoes it will be too loose; and in the evening it will become too tight.

How to care for your feet

IMAGE: In the monsoon, remember to wash your feet with antiseptic soap and water when you reach your office or home. Photograph: Kind Courtesy Crocsbrasil/Instagram

You just walked in puddles of water. And it has been giving you an uncomfortable feeling.

But when you are back home and see a hot cup of tea waiting for you, you completely forget about your feet.

That's not right.

Here's what you should do when you get home:

  • Wash your feet with antiseptic soap and water.
  • Pat it dry with a cloth.
  • Moisturise your feet well, especially in between the toes.
  • Keep a check on your toenails regularly. Cut your nails properly.
  • Patients who are diabetic should monitor their feet and footwear inside out every day. As diabetic people have less sensation in their feet, they might not get to feel if there's an injury or bruise in the feet. If not checked properly, it might turn into a big wound.
  • If you have been in water for long and your skin looks wrinkled, wash your feet with warm water. Staying in water for a long period of time brings down the temperature of the body. Don't be in touch with water until your skin gets back to normal.


Don't let your stilettos kill you

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Tista Sengupta / Mumbai