Save Your Soles: A Guide to Foot Pain

Treat your feet right and they'll return the favor. Our experts reveal ways to kick the bad habits that can lead to serious foot pain.
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Preventing and Soothing Problems

Maybe you were born with problem feet -- feet that turn in or out, arches that are too high or too low. Or you're dealing with foot pain that's self-inflicted, caused by tight shoes or high heels. Whatever the cause, foot pain is overwhelmingly a female problem: Experts say that 80 percent of foot surgery is performed on women. Foot doctors frown on teetery slingbacks, backless sandals and sky-high heels -- a disappointment for anyone who's ever coveted sexy stilettos or loves to lounge in flip-flops. If a shoe isn't supportive or fits poorly , say podiatrists, it's best not to wear it. Easier said than done, we know, but to avoid developing a foot problem or making one you already have worse, resist heels higher than 2 inches -- at least most of the time -- and tight squeezes (there should be about half an inch of space between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe).

"Try several sizes whenever you buy shoes," says Leslie Campbell, DPM, a foot and ankle surgeon at Presbyterian Hospital, in Allen, Texas. "Feet can change a half size in length, and also in width, at any time during adulthood -- from age, weight gain or loss, or pregnancy. And buy in the afternoon when feet tend to be the most swollen." Even if your feet mostly feel fine, our guide will help you pinpoint potential problem areas so you can stop bad habits that could lead to future foot trouble. If it's too late for preventive measures, you'll find the latest ways to soothe sore toes, heels, and soles

Continued on page 2:  Pain Problem: Achilles Tendinitis


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