Tips for Happy Holiday Feet
The holidays are officially here, and we all know what that means … crowded stores, long lines, lots of traffic, walking for miles while shopping for all the right gifts, hiking to find the perfect tree, standing all night baking holiday treats and standing all day to prepare holiday feasts. Our poor feet take on a lot during the holidays, so it’s easy to see how they are susceptible to injury and overuse.
One foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and numerous tendons. There are 206 bones in the human skeleton, so that means the bones in your two feet make up a quarter of the bones in your entire body. Yet again, it’s no wonder that our feet are so susceptible to injury and overuse.
When it comes to why your feet might be bothering you, there are many factors to be taken into consideration: Do you have flat feet or high arches? What kind of shoes are you wearing? What size of shoes are you wearing? Do you have any pre-existing conditions with either of your feet?
No matter what the circumstances, after a long day on your feet, the muscles ache and legs get tired. Here are some tips on how to prevent overuse injuries in your feet this holiday season:
If you have flat feet
When you have flat feet, the joints in the arch of the foot have partially or completely collapsed. Wearing flat shoes with no support can cause muscle spasms in your arches and legs. Wearing shoes with good arch support or getting custom-made, fitted insoles for arch support can help relieve pressure on the arch.
If you have high arches
If you have high arches, you may experience pain and burning in both the ball and heel of your foot because high arches cause more weight to be distributed to these areas of the feet when you are standing (or walking). Custom orthotic shoe inserts can help offer support and cushioning to your arch. Also, shoes with high tops and/or wide heels can help support the ankle and give stability.
If you have structural bone problems
The combination of having structural bone problems such as hammertoes, heel spurs and bunions can be aggravated by wearing the wrong type of shoe. Shoes that are too narrow can aggravate bone spurs that have developed over time on the foot, causing blisters and corns to form. Therefore, shopping all day can be hazardous to your feet!
If you wear flat shoes
Flat shoes, like ballet flats and heel-less flip-flops, offer little arch support and should be avoided. Flat shoes cause an unnatural distribution of pressure (mainly affecting the arch) and can lead to toe, knee, hip, back and even shoulder problems. Flat shoes are also a cause of Plantar Fasciitis. Custom orthotic inserts can be added to flats to give padding and arch support where needed.
If you wear high heels
The steep decline of a high-heeled shoe from heel to toe puts extra pressure onto the ball of the foot, forcing it to the ground. High heels can also lead to bunions, blisters, ingrown toenails, hammertoes, twisted ankles and more. These are not shoes you should do a lot of walking in. Wear them to dinner or to make an entrance at a party, but DO NOT wear them for holiday shopping!
If you have to wear heels, go with shorter, thicker heels. They offer more support and stabilization, and the pressure on the ball of the foot is not as forceful. You can also get gel inserts made specifically for high heels, like this one, or no-slip padding inserts for the ball of the foot like this one.
These pointers may help make uncomfortable shoes more comfortable, but your best option is to wear appropriate, comfortable and well-fitting shoes.
If you are experiencing heel pain, or any other foot and ankle problems, please contact us to schedule an appointment today. You can visit our website here, or visit one of our two convenient locations in The Woodlands or Magnolia.