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By Crofton Podiatry
October 11, 2018
Category: Bunion
Tags: high heels   flats   shoes   surgery   orthotic  

While the wrong types of shoes may not directly cause bunions, they can be the reason why they become worse. Long-term use of shoes that do not have the proper foot support can lead the bunion becoming larger, stiffer, and more painful.

So what actually causes bunions?

While the exact cause is unknown, it seems that genetics, injuries to the big toe joint, and excessive pressure to the forefoot causes the big toe to begin pointing toward the other toes. The bony spur develops as a response to direct pressure, improper healing, or as a support to the big toe joint.

Then what types of shoes make bunion symptoms worse?

  • High heels (higher than 2 inches) – Wearing high heels puts an extraneous strain on the forefoot, especially at the big toe joint. The extra pressure can cause inflammation and pain after even just a few minutes. Eventually, it can cause the bony spur to get bigger and more painful.
  • Narrow and/or pointed-toe shoes – While some shoes seem very fashionable and trendy by being pointy or narrow, it’s not actually the right shape for your feet. Forcing your feet to spend the day walking in narrow or pointy shoes can further force your big toe to point toward your other toes.
  • Tight shoes or shoes that are small for you - Don’t forget that your feet swell a little bit throughout the day, so it’s best to find shoes that fit you in the afternoon. Additionally, some shoes do not come in half sizes, so you may have to size up or down. Be careful with sizing down since your feet (and bunions) need space to feel comfortable.
  • Stiff, non-adjustable shoes – Shoes with elastic material, straps, or laces will allow you to adjust your shoes to comfort as the day goes on. Again, tight shoes will only make bunion symptoms worse! If your bunion becomes inflamed, you’ll want to give your feet some breathing room by adjusting them.
  • Flats – Ballerina flats and other flat shoes that do not have arch support can cause more pressure on the big toe joint. If you prefer to wear flats, try adding arch support inserts to feel more comfortable.

What is the lesson learned? If you have bunions, don’t make them worse with the wrong shoes. Try looking for footwear that is low-heeled, comfortable, roomy for your toes, supportive for your arches, and adjustable throughout the day.

Of course, those with severe bunions already should speak with our podiatrist for the best solution. You may need custom orthotic shoes to fit severely deformed feet. Surgery might even be necessary if bunions really get in the way of your life.

We can help you! Make an appointment by calling (410) 721-4505 to see our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry. Come to visit our Crofton, MD office, which also serves the surrounding areas of Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie areas.

By Crofton Podiatry
February 21, 2018
Category: Proper Footwear

There are certain habits that are picked up without realizing it. Picking at scabs, shaking your legs while sitting, saying “like,” and not signaling when you change lanes in your car are all bad habits that you might pick up without consciously trying to do them.

Likewise, there may be some bad habits that you may have picked up regarding your shoes. The following are unconscious actions you might be doing that could be harming your shoe (and therefore your foot and ankle health):

  • Wearing the same shoes each day – If you have a pair of shoes that you wear each day, such as work shoes or walking shoes, there’s a good chance that you’ve developed at least a little bit of a funky smell in them. That’s because bacteria and mold love to grow in moist and warm places, such as in your footwear. As you sweat throughout the day, the microorganisms thrive and can survive long after you’ve taken them off. To help reduce odor and even breakdown of the shoes, rotate the shoes you wear each day. You may even need to buy two of the same pair of shoes if you really need to wear those particular ones. 
  • Putting them away as soon as you get home – This can perpetuate the above mentioned bacterial and fungal growth in the shoes, as they don’t get a chance to air out and dry out. Get in the habit of leaving them out overnight and putting shoes away before you leave for work in the morning. Or better yet, leave them out until you get back after work later that day.
  • Not wearing socks with shoes – Some people get into this habit out of convenience or the idea that certain shoes do not need socks. However, any enclosed shoes would benefit from socks as a barrier between the inner lining and your feet. Socks can absorb the moisture that would otherwise go into your shoes; they also protect the inner lining of the shoes from features of your feet, such as long toenails. TIP: If you’ve got hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), change your socks at least once midday.
  • Folding the back of the shoes – When you’re just running out to grab something from the car or get the mail, you might just slip your feet into shoes and fold the back like a slipper. It makes easier to get in and out of the shoes. However, not only are you breaking the structure of the shoe, you’re also wearing down the rubber soles of your shoes since it’s more likely to be dragging on the ground. Proper heel cupping in the shoes is important to preventing some overuse injuries like plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis.
  • Dragging your feet when you walk – Some of you might be more inclined to drag your feet when wearing certain shoes like fur-lined boots or certain sandals. That could really wear down the outer soles of the shoes, causing problems with the structural integrity and support your feet and ankles get. Pay attention to your gait.
  • You wear high heels, flats, or other uncomfortable shoes every day – You may have become a pro at wearing certain shoes each day, but high heels, flats, and pointed-toe shoes can all end up causing you problems. They all lack supportive features and make your feet work harder than they need to. If you MUST wear these uncomfortable shoes, at least try to change out of them as soon as you leave the office since you may develop bunions or metatarsalgia otherwise.
  • Wearing shoes too long – This is not a habit, per say, but something you’ve been resisting. You may have a favorite pair of shoes that you want to wear until you can’t, but it could leave you with more pain than joy. If you really want to extend the life of your shoes, consider wearing them with orthotic inserts to maintain support for your feet.

Do you think you might have foot or ankle problems because of bad shoe habits? Make an appointment by calling our office at (410) 721-4505 to consult with our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry. He can help you with an assessment and treatment if needed. For dedicated care for your feet and ankles, visit our Crofton, MD office, which also serves the surrounding Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie areas.

By Crofton Podiatry
August 07, 2017
Category: Footwear

Other than in winter, flats, especially ballet flats, are a popular footwear choice for women. They are more comfortable than high heels, but are fashionable and can be appropriate for work attire. What you may not know, though, is that it can be the root of your foot pain problems!

While they are the best option for closed-toed fashion footwear, they still have their problems, such as:

  • They tend to have narrow toe boxes – For those who have wide feet or have bunions, the front part of the shoes can be constricting. Wearing tight shoes like this can cause or worsen symptoms of bunions, tailor’s bunions, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, and even neuromas. Rather than ballet flats, loafers or boat shoes may be better options.

  • Limited cushioning – Flats tend to have minimal inner sole cushioning so that the shoes can be dainty and thin. This can increase impact on your joints while walking and cause foot fatigue.

  • Little or no arch support – Many times, the inner sole is flat to match the shoe shape, which means that there is no support for the arch. This can cause the foot to work harder to stabilize and cause painful symptoms like that of plantar fasciitis.

  • Little heel support – Footwear should have good heel cupping and cushioning to prevent heel pain and provide stability.

  • Unsupportive shoe shape and quality – Depending on the quality and materials that they are made with, they can cause irritation to your feet in the form of blisters and cuts.

The following are some ways to improve your flat wearing experience:

  • When purchasing flats, make sure to try them on. Try walking around in them. If they are cutting into the top of your feet or feel crowded in the toebox, they are not the shoes for you. Your toes should be able to wiggle around a bit, but not enough that your foot slides around in the shoes.

  • Recently, podiatrists have been working with shoemakers to design comfortable, supportive flats. Look for these types of shoes with supportive features built in.

  • For flats that do not have adequate cushioning, arch support, or heel support, try using orthotic inserts. You’ll probably be able to walk around in them for longer without foot fatigue.

  • Try not to wear shoes barefoot. Even sheer, no show socks can help prevent chafing and blisters.

If you are experiencing foot pain after a long day in your shoes, you may want to consider making a change. For persisting problems that cause you pain, consult with our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry. Make an appointment by calling (410) 721-4505. Our team is ready to assist you and your family at our Crofton, MD office, which also serves the surrounding Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie areas.

Last week we talked about celebrities having issues with their high heels, and how you can stay safe yet fashionable in your upcoming formal summer events.  But high heels weren’t the only thing showing up on the red carpet this year, another source of foot pain appeared in the form of flats.  Celebs such as Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Dita Von Teese, Taylor Swift, and Emma Watson have been seen recently sporting flat shoes everywhere from the grocery store to the most fashionable gatherings.

While flats may be easy to slip on – the damage the can create with repetitive use may not be so easy to shake off.  Shoes with flat and thin soles can cause problems ranging from stubbed toes and cuts, to overuse injuries such as stress fractures and plantar fasciitis.  As a seasoned podiatrist in Bowie and Annapolis, it is not uncommon for me to see at least one patient with a flip-flop related injury daily throughout the summer months.  Generally speaking, people with flatter arches are more susceptible to overuse injuries because they need more support for their bodies. Flats and flip flops simply don’t provide enough support to absorb the forces of walking.

While excessive use of flats and flip-flops can cause many problems, moderate use is typically handled well, especially if only used periodically in combination with other shoe types.  However, if you start to feel problems from your footwear, make an appointment with your local podiatrist. If you’re in the greater Annapolis area, I invite you to drop by my office at Crofton Podiatry. We can talk about the reasons why you’re experiencing issues, and the options available to best relieve your pain.  Remember – the best way to enjoy your upcoming summer is on your feet!

By Brad Toll.




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2411 Crofton Lane, Suite 25
Crofton, MD 21114

Podiatrist - Crofton, Crofton Podiatry, 2411 Crofton Lane, Suite 25, Crofton MD, 21114 (410) 721-4505