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In my practice, I see women who have problems with their feet that are directly connected to wearing shoes that are the wrong size. More often than not, they don't even realize that the shoes are not fitting properly. My name is Dr. Andrew Schneider, and I'm a podiatrist in Houston, Texas. In this month's video series, I'm going to discuss various issues related to women's foot health.
I can't tell you how many women ask if I can, once and for all, tell them their #ShoeSize. I always respond the same way. I of course can measure their feet and tell them the size. But unfortunately, the number doesn't have much meaning. That's because every shoe company's sizing is different. One brand seven and a half is another brands eight, which is another brand seven. And women will consistently find that their running shoe size is always larger than their work or dress shoe size. So why the discrepancy? What's so hard about getting everyone on the same page? Well, let's start with the sizing of work and dress shoes.
Many women's brands use vanity sizing. That's when the posted size is smaller than the actual size of the shoe. Well, why would they do that? They think it makes their shoes more attractive when women think their feet are smaller than they actually are. Do women fall for it? I guess the marketing companies think so. Personally, the women I talk to see right through it.
When it comes to athletic shoe companies, they don't use vanity sizing. That's why many women find that their running shoes are anywhere from a half size to a size and a half larger than their other shoes. Unfortunately, many women don't know there's a difference and they're cramming their feet into running shoes that are way too small for them. When it comes to tennis shoes, the proper length is when you have the width of your index finger between your longest toe and the end of the shoe, while you're standing. You may need someone's help when you're trying to figure this out. You can't use the same convention with street shoes, but it's just as important to wear a properly sized shoes.
Wearing shoes that are too small or too narrow for you can cause a number of conditions. Some women come into the office complaining of a numb sensation in their feet and toes while wearing their shoes. This can be because of a nerve compression when the shoes are too tight. There are a lot of nerves in the feet, which get pressure when the foot is squeezed into a shoe. Think of when you hit your elbow and your hands has pins and needles. The same thing will happen to your feet. It's a clear sign that your shoes are not fitting properly. While shoes don't typically cause foot deformities, such as #bunions or hammer toes, they certainly can make them worse. Cramming your feet into shoes that are too small would put pressure on the deformities and cause them to worsen. They'll also add pressure to the feet and cause the formation of corns and calluses. These are areas of thick, dead skin in areas of pressure. They're unsightly and they can be painful.
Wearing a properly fitting shoe will allow ample space for your feet and toes, without causing these painful lesions to form. The extra pressure on your toes can also cause an ingrown toenail. When the shoes are tight and the toes are bunched together, the skin can push up into the toenail. This will cause the toenail to embed into the toe. This can be painful, become infected, and may require a procedure if it happens.
Finally, wearing shoes that don't fit properly simply make you miserable. How often do we hear women say they can't wait to get their shoes off. You see women leaving parties, carrying their shoes and walking out barefoot. Heck, in Vegas, they have vending machines of ballet flats for women to buy to get out of their painful shoes. Shoes can look amazing and feel good. You just have to find the right ones for you.
To further complicate the matter, your shoe size doesn't stay the same. Many women experience a change in their shoe size during their first pregnancy. Also, as we age, the feet tend to spread out, increasing the shoe size. So don't be married to a particular number. That number carries very little meaning.