Nearly 75 percent of all Americans will suffer foot problems at some point, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. But you might save yourself a lot of pain if you treated yourself to a new pair of shoes. Wearing improperly fitting shoes on a daily basis causes foot problems such as calluses, corns, hammertoes, bunions, and more. Some of these conditions may ultimately require surgery to correct. But bad shoes hurt more than your feet. Millions of Americans have chronic knee pain and back pain because of shoe problems, especially from wearing high heels. It turns out that most high-heeled shoes (including cowboy boots) have pointed or narrow tips that squash toes into an unnatural triangular shape. As the heel gets higher, the pressure placed on the balls of the feet can lead to problems with long-term medical consequences. "The lower the heel, the fewer the problems," explains Mary Ellen Franklin, associate professor of physical therapy at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. But even flat-heeled shoes can cause trouble if you don't buy the right ones or know when to discard your old soles. Some shoe tips to help give pain the boot are listed below.
Note: Mary Ellen Franklin, associate professor at the Medical College of Georgia, says most kids outgrow athletic shoes before they wear out. Her rule? "When my son's shoes get really smelly, I know it's time," she says.