Women's health * Healthy living

Women happy to suffer for fashion

if the shoe doesnt fit... Men just as bad in picking wrong shoe size

Nearly 1 in 4 women will happily buy the latest "must have" shoes even if they don't fit them, according to a new survey. And nearly 1 in 5 men would do the same.

All this despite the fact that 80% of the women questioned claimed to suffer from cracked heels, bunions, ingrown toe nails and other foot health problems.

Lorraine Jones, from the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists who carried out the survey, said: 'Many of us find it hard to resist a bargain and the latest fashion must-have, but it's important to remember that by buying ill-fitting shoes, you're not only going to end up in discomfort, but you are also putting your health at risk.

High heels are particularly dangerous to health, with a 5cm heel increasing the pressure on the ball of the foot by 52% with each step.

The most common cause of bunions is the prolonged wearing of poorly fitting shoes, usually those with a narrow, pointed toe box that squeezes the toes into an unnatural position.

"Most people in the UK suffer from a foot problem at some point in their lives, and while many are fairly minor, some can be extremely painful and disabling" said Ms Jones.

"Most foot complaints are treatable, but if problems are not detected early or treated properly, some conditions can become very serious with patients left in pain and with difficulties walking,” she added.

Given that the average adult can take as many as 6,000 steps a day, the impact of poorly fitting shoes on our feet is clear. Furthermore, as we age our feet have a tendency to "spread", yet most of us never have our feet measured after our childhood years.

Women in particular are prone to foot health problems, and wearing fashionable but poorly fitting shoes will only contribute to these problems in later life.

This article was published on Mon 7 September 2009

Image © Michael Flippo - Fotolia.com

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