The shoes you wear can make you feel slim, sexy stylish and/or leave you wincing in pain. Feet swell over the day, so if a shoe feels slightly tight at 7 AM, then it will be a vice grip by nightfall. Only buy shoes that are roomy and consider opting for a lower heel, 1 inch or less. Research shows that 2 inch heels create impact forces 4% greater than flats, while 3 inch heels boost stress by 33%. Although flats sound like the healthier alternative to heels, the truth is that even a basic ballet flat or canvas casual can be just as problematic, says Megan Leahy, DPM, a podiatrist with the Illinois Bone & Joint Institute in Chicago.
ARCH ENEMY. Many flats lack internal support (like the kind you find in a sneaker). Without it, the ligaments and tendons along the bottom of your foot can overstretch and the arch can collapse, says Marlene Reid, DPM and podiatrist surgeon in IL. This in turn can lead to the painful foot condition, plantar fasciitis - a notoriously hard-to-treat burning or aching along the bottom of the foot. Poor internal support is especially problematic if you're naturally flat footed.
STRAINED SOLES. Many casual flats have even less interior cushioning than heels or sandals. This lack of padding can trigger pain in the heel or ball of your foot when you're walking, especially if you have high arches, says Dr. Leahy.
To wear shoes with no built in support, you need to strengthen the tiny foot muscles that support your arches. Raise your big toe without the rest of the gang. It may seem impossible at first but it's like riding a bike. You have to master the coordination through practice. Do 20 toe lifts per foot. Stretch your toes and calves to keep them limber and to avoid foot cramps.
Source: Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie