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Festive Foot Care: Don't let heels cramp this season's style

Frank Stafford
 


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The holiday season is approaching once again and we all know of what that means: many events at which to dress up and celebrate in style! However, for lots holiday-celebrators, particularly women, this might mean donning footwear that's as painful as it is pretty. But while fashion comes at a price, you shouldn’t have to look good at the expense of your foot health. Wearing tiny, crammed shoes can agitate painful medical conditions like hammertoe, Morton's neuroma and bunions. High heels can even lead to degenerative diseases and osteoarthritis. But there's good news: now you no longer need to decide between comfort and style when it comes to picking a pair of shoes. If you’re one of hundreds of ladies who would rather focus on family and friends than on how uncomfortable her shoes are this season, consider these suggestions when planning your holiday wardrobe.

Shop Smart:

In a recent article, reputable podiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Kurtz warns against shopping for shoes in the morning. Our feet can swell throughout the day, which means your feet are usually at their largest at night. Kurtz also suggests heading to a department store or extended-service shoe seller. “They tend to have an excellent selection of footwear in various sizes and widths, ” Kurtz says. A bit of detective work online could even save you some money.

Buy a pair of riding boots.

If you've got plans for a holiday get-together that’s been dubbed “dressy-casual, ” then it's the perfect chance to don one of the season's classiest looks: riding boots. This style of boots have little to no heel, so they’re great quality comfort shoes. These shoes pair effortlessly with anything from a casual jeans/sweater outfit to your favorite dress and pea coat.

Narrow your search, not your heels.

If you're someone who has worn a pair of heels with super-pointy toes, you probably will not be surprised to discover that they are a factor in the development of disorders like hammertoes and bunions. The reason is that shoes with pointy toes (including those with oval and square toes) force your feet into an unnatural position. Round-toed variations are often the most comfortable and least harmful to the feet. For a fresh take on round-toed footwear, seek out a pair of Oxfords or ballet flats (both styles are available with helpful arch support).

Smaller Heels.

If you can't go without, see if you can find some that are with a heel under 3 inches. Why? According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons , Three inch heels can put 7 times more pressure on the balls of your feet than flats. With too much wear, this type of footwear can cause you to experience, inflammation, Morton’s neuroma and even Achilles tendinitis. To avoid pain and health risks, limit your heel wearing to no more than a few hours at special occasions and always be sure to stretch your calves and feet after you take the shoes off.

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