Sunday, 14 March 2010

Best Shoes for Professional Women

The judge called for a short recess. Monica wandered down the
hall and found a private office to have a seat and take off
her shoes. As the young attorney sat rubbing her right foot,
she only wished she had a different pair of shoes that
matched her business suit. But it is important that she look
her best in front of the jury.

Today's professional women often face this dilemma. Lawyers
stand in court all day, business executives race through
airports, and real estate agents are going up and down
stairs showing houses. When you consider that all of that
activity often takes place in painfully uncomfortable shoes,
it is no wonder so many women professionals are looking for
new shoe solutions.

If you can wear tennis shoes while walking to work and then
switch into heels, great! But many jobs demand all day
style. The first question is what causes foot pain with
fashionable shoes? The second question is how do you find
comfortable shoes that will compliment a business and
professional attire? We'll answer those questions so you can
make better shoe choices.

One of the most frequent types of foot pain related to
women's shoes is pain in the ball of the foot. Often this is
simply because the heel height jacks the foot up so high that
abnormal forces damage the joints in the toes. In fact, high
heels can triple or quadruple the pressure on the ball of
the foot. This pressure causes hammertoes, dislocation of
joints in the feet, and even stress fractures in the
metatarsal bones.

Another common culprit is the shape of the toe box. A
pointed toe box squishes those little piggies causing bunion
pain, ingrown toenails or even hammertoes. Friction blister
or thick callouses may start to form in response to the
rubbing or those toes in the cramped toe box. A round or
square toe box allows more natural movement for the toes is
generally less likely to cause trouble.

Heel pain is also often related to fashionable shoes.
Believe it or not, both high heels and really low heels can
cause this problem. Ballet style shoes and flimsy sandals
have no support and almost no heel. This can lead to excess
tension on a big ligament on the bottom of the foot called
the plantar fascia. As you walk around in these shoes, the
ligament tugs away, irritating the heel bone where this
ligament attaches. Then you get pain in the bottom of the
heel called plantar fasciitis. This is by far the most
common cause of pain in the bottom of the heel in women.

Interestingly if you wear three or four inch heels every
day, you can end up with the same problem. The Achilles
tendon will gradually contract and tighten up if you always
wear high heels. Podiatrists call this condition "equinus
deformity." Once you have a tight Achilles tendon, you will
get more tension on the plantar fascia that can cause pain
in the bottom of the heel.

One thing you should take into consideration is your foot
type. If you have bunions, you must make sure that you
choose shoes that don't have seams or stitching running over
the bump at the big toe joint. These seams can rapidly
inflame the bunion causing bursitis. Pick the wrong shoes
and you'll be seeing the foot surgeon for bunion removal
surgery. Pick the right shoes and you can live with bunions
for years.

If you have flat feet and notice redness at the back of the
heel, you might prefer open back shoes. You should know that
you could have a heel that is likely to form Haglund's
Deformity (also called "pump bumps". This is a big knot on
the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon attaches. It
only happens with repeated rubbing from the heel counter in
shoes, so open back shoes can prevent it from getting worse.

The first thing to consider when selecting you shoes is
style. If you have it in your head that nothing looks as
good as four inch heels, take the time to at least find some
that have a cushioned forefoot. Thin leather alone is rarely
enough.

If you have found shoes you love that don't love you back,
try adding some inserts or padding. Many fashionable shoes
(especially heels) have almost no padding. You local
podiatrist can offer many suggestions on gel cushions that
fit in the shoes without altering your look. Custom
orthotics can also support the foot and decrease foot pain.
These are much more expensive. However, it is like the
difference between an outfit that is off-the-rack and one
that is custom tailored. With shoe inserts, you get what you
pay for. As Monica explained, sometimes rotating your shoes
can really help. If all of your shoes cause pain in
different places, you are basically spreading the trouble
around. In a sense, you are letting different parts of your
feet recover each time you change shoes. This is obviously a
lot easier for a real estate agent to pull off than it would
be for a lawyer who stands before a jury in a courtroom all
day.

Not everyone can choose sensible shoes, but there are still
many options to fit any professional outfit. Just make sure
you think about your foot type, the foot pain you had in the
past, and choose your new shoes wisely.


About the Author:

Dr. Christopher Segler is a foot surgeon and San Francisco
Podiatrist who enjoys providing treatments that help
professional women wear shoes that make them feel
successful. He offers house and office calls to busy
professionals in need of convenient rapid treatment in the
San Francisco Bay Area. You can learn more about foot and
ankle pain at http://www.AnkleCenter.com and
http://www.DocOnTheRun.com .