a feature article by Dr. Steven Rosenberg*

So you know those two feet you have? Ever think if they had a voice they might scream at you? Maybe they’re a little tired, a little sore, and a little fed up by the time they have some years on them. Think of it: they truly are your best friends. Now it’s your turn to do something for them.

As we get older, our feet get older too and start yelling for help. The shoes we normally wear begin to become uncomfortable and it seems like our shoe size has changed but it hasn’t. The reasons for this are the muscles in the arch begin to fatigue and we need more arch support when wearing footwear.  Also funny lumps and bumps begin to appear in places on the foot that were not present when we were younger, therefore our shoes appear to be getting tighter. The results of which are the beginning stages of bunion and hammer-toe problems.  Arch cramps, burning in the ball of the foot and joint discomfort round out the complaint list. Women who wear high heels daily can also experience many of these same problems. Wearing high heels that have a narrow toe box will aggravate the tops of your toes and put pressure on the great toe joint. Foot fatigue and tired legs may ensue too. OUCH!

All these types of problems are developmental and are more a function of hereditary predispositions (genetics) then your foot mysteriously getting bigger or waking up one morning with a bony prominence you never had before.

Do not despair. Here are some easy solutions to solve these new developments:

1.) Selecting shoe wear that is more comfortable to wear with a wider toe box will help any lump or bump from getting irritated, which can cause pain.

2.) Going to a shoe repair shop and having your shoes stretched is another option.

3.) Since most shoes do not provide any arch support or the proper arch support, one can develop arch cramps, muscle spasms or plantar fasciitis when walking in flats or high heels all day long. The lack of arch support in footwear will allow the joints in mid-foot and rear foot area of your foot to collapse causing muscle fatigue, cramping and burning on the ball of your foot or pain in the great toe joint. By placing orthotics prescribed by a foot specialist or purchasing over the counter arch supports in your shoes such as Instant Arches® and Instant Arches®, you can help prevent the arch of your foot from collapsing.  Whether you’re wearing heels, flats, or sandals, having the proper arch support in your shoes will be very helpful. Once the arch of your foot is stabilized, the symptoms should begin to reduce and slow down the progression of bunion and hammer toe formation. Wearing an arch support or orthotic in your shoes will make your feet more comfortable allowing you to wear the shoes you love more often.

*Steven Rosenberg, DPM, is a podiatrist in private practice in Santa Monica, CA, who brings years of experience and a blend of many therapeutic treatment modalities to help solve patients’ foot and ankle problems. He is an avid blogger on the Huffington Post in Style & Sports. Dr. Rosenberg developed the Instant Arches Comfort Collection for Sandals & Fashion Footwear, and is CEO/President of Foot Products Enterprises. For more information, go to: www.rosenbergstevendpm.com, www.instantarches.com, or www.archspeciaist.com