If you have foot trouble, most likely you were not born with it but you acquired it from the shoes you have worn. Shoes appear to be the major cause of most foot problems.
Remove your shoes and stockings and take a look at your feet. Are the toes pinched together, with some of them overlapping on others? Are they misshapen, with the big toe at an unnatural angle?
Have the arches fallen? Do you have trouble with ingrown toenails? These are some of the things that can result from poorly fitting shoes.
Foot Trouble Begins Early
Surprising as it may seem, the trouble many people have with their feet began while they were children. It might even have begun during infancy by having had poorly designed shoes put on them that restricted toe movements and put pressure on the soft bones of their feet.
Infants that have not begun to walk do not need shoes. While awake, the infant is constantly wiggling and exercising these toes. Any restriction of this toe action is harmful.
Socks and bootees should not be worn, except on rare occasion, during the child’s first year. The same applies to shoes. Foot-wear shouldn't be considered until the child is starting to walk.
Allowing the child to go barefoot is often a good way to strengthen its feet and to protect them from future trouble. During the first eighteen months of its life this is possibly the most important factor in preventing it from acquiring fallen arches.
From the ages of two to seventeen the bones of the feet are undergoing a hardening process that makes the feet particularly susceptible to foot defects caused by ill-fitting shoes.
So when buying shoes for their children, parents should be careful to select shoes that are wide enough and long enough to provide ample toe room. It is unwise to put a shoe on a child’s foot that is too large with the idea that it can grow into it.
Unless the child has the right size, its foot can be damaged. Arch supports should be avoided unless a doctor recommends them. They are not needed by healthy feet but can weaken them.
Foot growth has to be watched in children, as a child can quickly outgrow his shoes and damage his feet by wearing shoes that are too small.
Shoes that have been outgrown by an older child should not indiscriminately be passed on to a younger brother or sister. It is important that shoes fit.
Shoe styles among women in many lands cause them to wear foot-cramping shoes with high heels, but prolonged use of such shoes is not good for their feet.
There are foot doctors who believe that high-heeled shoes cause the calf muscle to shorten, foot ligaments and tendons to be weakened and the metatarsal arch to break down.
Practically any foot defect or symptom which the individual already has is aggravated by the habitual wearing of high heels. Bunions, corns, strained or weak feet, etc., have no opportunity to improve, and will become worse. Of course, there are differences of opinion on this matter.
Yet it might be better for women who want to wear high-heeled shoes to do so occasionally or at irregular intervals. During the day when a woman is doing a lot of standing or walking, a low-heeled shoe would treat her feet more kindly.
Nevertheless, if a woman wants to switch to shoes with lower heels for regular wear, it does not seem advisable to make a sudden change after habitually wearing high heels. The change should be made gradually.
Due to the fact that a woman’s calf muscle has shortened by prolonged use of high heels, a sudden change to regular use of low heels can cause sharp aching and cramps in the calves of her legs from the muscles being stretched to their normal length.
How to find the right size of shoes for your feet?
The right fit is the most important thing to look for when purchasing shoes. No matter how attractive a shoe may appear to you, do not buy it if it fits poorly. As has been pointed out, ill-fitting shoes can ruin your feet and damage your health.
It is wise to shop for shoes in the afternoon. This is because your feet tend to swell slightly after having worn shoes for a while. Since your feet are always smaller in the morning after a night’s rest, the afternoon is the best time to get a good fit in shoes.
Have the shoe salesman measure both feet while you are standing. There can be as much as a full size difference between when you are sitting and when you are standing.
By having both feet measured, you will know whether you have one foot that is larger than the other. This is not uncommon. The larger foot is the one that should be fitted.
Do not insist upon the size indicated in the shoes you are wearing. Sizes can differ between brands of shoes. What might be right for you in one make could be wrong in another make. Then, too, the size you are wearing may not be the best size for your feet.
Still another reason for having your feet measured each time you purchase shoes is the fact that your feet can change as you grow older. A woman who wears a size 7% at the age of twenty might require a size 8% at the age of forty.
The feet of children ought to be measured frequently to ensure that their rapidly growing feet do not become cramped in their shoes.
Check the length of the shoes you try on. They should be sufficiently long to allow a space of from one-half to three-quarters of an inch beyond your longest toe. The longest toe may not be the large one; for some persons it is the second toe.
A man’s shoe should be as long as possible, so that the pointed toe does not squeeze the toes. To check the width, squeeze each side of the shoe between your thumb and forefinger.
When a shoe is too narrow the leather will remain taut. There should be a little slack in the leather that becomes noticeable when you squeeze the shoe.
The widest part of the shoe is where the sole begins to curve toward the heel. This is where the ball of your foot at the big-toe joint should be.
By pressing on the side of the shoe and by moving your big toe, you can feel the big-toe joint and can see whether it rests at the turn of the sole. If it is in front of this widest part of the shoe, ask for a longer shoe.
Try on both shoes and walk about the store. This is the best test of a shoe’s comfort. The sole should be firm but flexible so that it bends easily as you walk. The space over the toes should be sufficient so your toenail will not dig a ridge into the leather.
For the good of your feet you need room around your toes. If you can feel the tip of the shoe against the nail of your big toe or against the side of your toe, the shoe is a very poor fit.
A shoe must give your foot sufficient room to be comfortable. If it does not feel right in the store, it will not feel right outside the store when you are walking.
Look at the lining in the shoe. In cheaply made shoes the lining quickly becomes worn and bunches up so that the shoe becomes painful to wear.
Smooth leather is the best lining. It has a strong resistance to wrinkling and tearing and is less subject to decomposition than fabric linings.
There is no real saving in buying cheaply made shoes. They will quickly wear out and are not carefully designed to give you a proper fit.
On the other hand, expensive shoes are not necessary for foot comfort. There are medium-priced shoes that can provide you with a good fit along with durability.
What you spend for a pair of shoes may not be nearly what you spend for a suit of clothes, but those shoes can have a far greater influence on your temperament and your health than the suit.
So take care of your feet and the feet of your children by always choosing good-fitting shoes.