Those Flats Weren't Made for Walking - Virtua Article

Those Flats Weren't Made For Walking

By Gigee Bhular, DPM, Virtua Podiatrist—Virtua Foot & Ankle

If you've spent years wearing high heels or stilettos, I'm sure you can relate to the searing pain you feel in your feet after you finally take your heels off. But, when you decide to ditch your heels entirely and opt for fashionable flats instead, are you really doing your feet a favor? Not necessarily. 

Wearing high heels can cause bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, metatarsalgia (pain under the balls of your feet), and stress fractures. But wearing flat-soled shoes like ballet flats, flip-flops, and even slippers brings its own set of issues. Shoes with a flat sole often lack arch support and proper cushioning. If you wear them for long periods, it can cause arch pain and fatigue, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, tendonitis, and other problems.

The effects of wearing high heels versus flat shoes are related to the position of the foot. High heels tend to put greater pressure on the toes and forefoot area. Of course, the higher the heel, the worse this problem can be. Flats tend to cause more stress on the heel and forefoot area, especially when they lack arch support and a thick cushioned sole.

 Here are some recommendations for picking shoes that save your "soles":

  • Despite their comfort and ease, save your flip-flops for the beach.
  • Look for flats that are roomy and that have arch support and a thick cushioned outer sole. They should be comfortable right away.
  • Add insoles for support and cushioning. Many insoles don't fit into fashionable shoes, but "dress orthotic" insoles are manufactured to fit a sleeker shoe. A well-equipped shoe store may carry these, or they can be ordered online.
  • Choose shoes with a stiff sole and mesh top cover. This type of shoe helps your feet breathe and move with flexibility.
  • Always make sure you buy the right shoe for your foot shape and size, and consider any foot ailments that you may have. 

Give your feet the care they deserve

Virtua's podiatrists provide expert foot and ankle care and state-of-the-art treatment options for a complete range of conditions. 

We offer advanced care to prevent foot conditions that arise due to diabetes or other primary causes. Our podiatrists work closely with other specialists and primary care providers to ensure a complete patient care continuum.

Schedule an appointment online today or call 888-847-8823.

Updated October 11, 2021

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