Footwear is an integral part of our overall health as well – not just our foot health. Proper footwear can serve several purposes, including protection, support, stability, comfort, and cushioning, all of which can help keep foot problems and conditions such as ingrown toenails, tendonitis, blisters, and foot pain at bay.
In this article, you’ll learn about five key reasons footwear is critical for short- and long-term foot health.
Shoes protect the feet from cuts, scrapes, and other injuries. They also shield the feet from outside elements like rocks, hot pavement, and cold weather. Proper footwear with protection can help prevent foot conditions, including frostbite, broken bones, stress fractures, stubbed toes, and black toenails. Protection is especially important if you have diabetes; people with diabetes should wear covered footwear both indoors and outdoors.
Protection is also about wearing the right shoes for the correct purpose. For instance, wear tough winter footwear in cold conditions to help prevent cold-related skin injuries. Relatedly, wear proper athletic footwear for various sports, including tennis, basketball, football, hockey, and running, as footwear can have specific features for the various movements you make while participating.
Proper footwear supports the feet by helping distribute your body weight evenly across your legs and feet. Proper weight distribution can help prevent foot and leg pain and reduce the risk of sprains and fractures. Mainly, proper support can help prevent foot conditions, including pain from flat feet, plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, Achilles tendonitis, blisters, heel spurs, and osteoarthritis.
Shoes with good cushioning can absorb shock and reduce pressure on the feet. Whether running, on the job or just walking around casually, cushioning can help reduce impact-related injuries such as tendonitis, osteoarthritis, plantar fasciitis, hallux rigidus, and metatarsalgia.
Shoes with a stable sole and a firm heel counter provide stability. Stability is especially important for people who overpronate or have flat feet. You can get stability from shoes with stability features in the midsole that control the movement or the foot and ankle, or from custom orthotics. Proper footwear with stability can help reduce pain associated with overpronation, like Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and osteoarthritis.
A critical component of footwear for foot health is comfort. Shoes should fit snugly but not tight to prevent common foot conditions like ingrown toenails, blisters, calluses, and corns. Ill-fitting shoes can add pressure points throughout your feet and toes.
By choosing shoes that provide protection, support, cushioning, stability, and comfort, you can help to prevent foot problems and keep your feet healthy and pain-free.