RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—If you want foot pain relief, follow one simple rule: If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, nine out of 10 women routinely wear shoes that are too small (ouch!) for their feet. And according to a study published this week in the medical journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, those women will suffer foot pain for that choice—not just now, but later.
THE DETAILS: Researchers the Boston University School of Public Health and the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston looked at 3,378 participants (average age of 66) in the famous Framingham Study, all of whom had had a foot exam between 2002 and 2008. The researchers asked each participant whether he or she had pain, aching, or stiffness in either foot. And they asked participants to identify, from a list of 11 types of shoes, which one type they currently wear most frequently, and which one type of shoe they wore most frequently when they were 20 to 29 years old, 30 to 44 years old, 45 to 64 years old, 65 to 74 years old, and 75 and older. The researchers classified the shoes as “good” (as in athletic and casual sneakers, which provide rigid heel counters, holding the foot in place, and lots of rear-foot support), “average” (or, hard- or rubber-soled shoes and work boots), or “poor” (as in high-heeled shoes, sandals, and slippers). And they examined the effect of shoe type on foot pain, adjusting for the age and weight of the participants.