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  • Be Foot Wise
    Foot pain may be caused by an injury, muscle imbalance, or disease, but in many cases, foot pain is linked to the type of shoes you wear. Unsupportive or ill-fitting shoes may be inexpensive and fashionable, but they may be wrecking havoc to the health of your feet. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

Be Foot Wise

How to identify the five worst types of shoes for your feet.

At the end of the day are you dying to get off your feet? Achy, tired feet can make your whole body feel achy and tired. Foot pain may be caused by an injury, muscle imbalance, or disease, but in many cases, foot pain is linked to the type of shoes you wear. Unsupportive or ill-fitting shoes may be inexpensive and fashionable, but they may be wrecking havoc to the health of your feet.

When it comes to the worst types of shoes for your feet, here are the top five.

CYou only get one set of feet in this lifetime. It's important to take care of them properly. The sacrifice of wearing the latest fad in shoe wear is not worth the health risk of permanent foot deformities with accompanying knee or hip pain. - Jocelyn Curry, D.P.M.

1. Super High Heels

Three- to four-inch high heels are known as shoe-icide in the world of podiatrists. They may make the outfit and get the job, but they aren't a smart option. Not only are they bad for your feet, but high heels also can lead to leg, hip, and back pain as they affect the alignment of your body. Frequently wearing high heels tightens and shortens your Achilles tendon along the back of your ankle. This makes wearing flat shoes uncomfortable, too.

The more you wear high heels and the higher the heel, the more pressure is placed on the balls of your feet. Over time, this pressure thins the padding and callouses form. Expect ankle sprains, chronic pain, bunions, bone problems, curled toes, and pinched nerves. The higher the heel and the pointier the toe, the worse the shoe is for your feet.

2. Flip-Flops

They may be cool, comfortable, and easy to slip on, but flip-flops are one of the worst shoes you can wear. Most flip-flops offer little to no arch support or protection from sharp or uneven ground. As you walk, your toes are forced to curl to grip the shoe to keep it from falling off, putting you at risk for hammertoe or bone spurs. Lack of support can cause stretched tendons, which lead to Achilles tendinitis. Plantar fasciitis is also a possibility when a shoe lacks arch support.

3. Ballet Flats

They may feel comfortable and look cute with your skinny jeans, but ballet flats rank number three on the list of bad shoes for your feet. Lacking arch support and shock absorption, frequent or prolonged wear of ballet flats can lead to stress fractures or neuromas (enlarged nerves). Wear pointy flats and you'll add pressure to your toes. The good news? There are flats you can buy with adequate arch support.

4. Unsupportive Athletic Shoes

They may be marketed for a specific sport, but many athletic shoes offer as much support as ballet flats. The shoes may feel comfortable, but over time your feet will begin to suffer, especially if you're wearing them during high-impact activities. A lack of heel support and excess flexibility can lead to ankle twists and sprains.

In addition, beware of old athletic shoes that once had plenty of support but have seen better days. They may still look practically brand new, but the support is worn down. Walking or running in shoes like this can quickly lead to foot pain or injury. Most athletic shoes have a six-month lifespan or 500 miles.


We're not talking about the mules on the farm but the women's shoes that are close-toed and backless. Also called clogs or slip-ons, mules can be flat or have heels. With no back, your toes have to curl to keep them on, putting you at risk for hammertoes. Mules with heels place extra pressure on the front of your feet and increase your chances of bunions. And since they lack ankle support you're susceptible to sprains.

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