Are Those New Shoes Damaging Your Feet?

Now that fall is here, kids all across the country are going back to school. And for many parents, heading back to school means buying a whole new wardrobe for their child, including shoes.

But while many parents barely give their child's shoe selection a second glance, it is important that everyone is fitted with the proper sized shoes in order to prevent pain, discomfort, and even more serious foot damage down the line. You don't want your or your child to be one of the 75% of Americans who has foot discomfort due to improperly fitted shoes.

That number may seem high, but here's an even more shocking fact: nine out of 10 American women regularly wear shoes that are too small for their feet!

No matter your age, choosing the right size shoe -- and then breaking those shoes in properly -- is the best way to maintain foot health and prevent pain. Here are some common ailments caused by new shoes that you can avoid by ensuring they fit properly.
foot care Blisters
Ill-fitting shoes can cause friction on the skin. This starts out as a warm, burning feel that is localized to a single spot on your foot. Over time, this friction causes blisters, or pockets of liquid that form in the epidermis, the top layer of the skin. Most blisters heal themselves between three to seven days, but they can cause a lot of pain and discomfort when walking in the meantime.

Ingrown Toenails<
>Shoes that are too small can affect the toenail and cause it to grow sideways instead of outwards. If you have an ingrown toenail, you may experience a red, irritated toe that is swollen and warm to the touch. Not only that, but it hurts. About 5% of the American population suffers from this every year, and ingrown toenails can easily be prevented by simply purchasing the right sized shoe in the first place.

Hammer Toes
This tends to happen on the second or third toe, and it is a deformity that causes the toe to bend and curl downwards towards the pad of the foot. This causes a lot of pain because the toe joints aren't able to spread out properly. Left untreated, hammer toes require surgery to fix.

Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia acts as a shock-absorbing bowstring and supports the foot's arch. Too much tension here will cause small, micro tears that can make it almost impossible to walk. About 10% of Americans will suffer from this at least once in their lifetime.

WIth these risks in mind, it is incredibly important to break in new shoes as soon as possible. Most shoes will stretch over time, and this is important because the average foot will expand about two sizes when a person stands up to walk. And of all the bones in the body, 25% are down in the feet. When these bones are out of alignment, the rest of the body will suffer.

Consider this -- the average adult takes between 4,000 to 6,000 steps a day, which is why it is important to wear properly fitting shoes. And with nine out of 10 women wearing shoes that are too small, it is more important than ever to break in your shoes so the rest of your body will be properly supported.