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Flat Shoes – Are They Really Better For Your Feet?

It is well known that tight, ill-fitting or high-heeled shoes can cause problems for our feet and backs, hips, and knees. Many people assume flat shoes are the kindest for feet, but is this really the case? Read on to find out.

Flat Shoes VS High Shoes

High heels have a reputation for killing the feet as they often force the feet and toes into an uncomfortable position. Flat shoes are known for comfort and safety. But the truth actually sits somewhere in-between. While flat shoes are often kinder to our feet, the wrong type of flat shoe can cause just as much damage as a toe crunching killer heel. Let’s look at the impact of both types of footwear.

High Heels

Toes and Feet – Heel push your weight onto your toes and the balls of the feet, causing increased pressure in the area. Toes are squashed together, leading to ailments such as hammertoes, ingrown toenails and bunions.

Joints (Back, hips, knees) – When wearing heels, the body is pushed forward, causing the upper body to compensate by leaning back. This changes the way the body moves while wearing heels. The pressure on the joints such as ankles, knees and hips can cause muscle and ligament stress.

Flat Shoes

Support – Flat shoes such as court shoes, flip-flops and ballet pumps offer little to no support for the feet, ankle or heel, meaning there is no shock absorption.

Safety – If a flat shoe is loose and does not have laces, straps or buckles, they are in danger of sliding off, getting caught in something or tripping you up.

Achilles Tendonitis – The Achilles tendon will stretch if the foot lacks support. This can cause the area connecting to the heel to stiffen and become painful.

Plantar Fasciitis – The tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes is the plantar fascia. If feet are not cushioned, this area can become damaged, inflamed and stiff.

Posture and the Spine – Flat shoes without adequate support will change posture, causing excess pressure to joints, ligaments and tissue. Back, knee, and hip issues can occur this way.

The Verdict

Shoes should support the arch and ankle and space for toes to sit comfortably. The best shoes are well-fitting trainers, shoes with a low and solid heel, or well-cushioned heeled or flat shoes that are comfortable and not restrictive. Save the pointy heels and flip-flops for special occasions, and your feet will thank you!

Contact Louisa Seymour Podiatry on 01277 266870.

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