• Claudia Ebbers

Sick makers on silent soles - 80 % wear the wrong footwear...

Updated: Apr 21

60 muscles, 300 ligaments and tendons, more than 50 bones and over 20 joints: the human foot is a highly complex marvel, that’s why healthy feet are the foundation for the entire body.

Moreover, feet are as different as faces. Every foot is individual and not every foot of the same

size has the same shape, width, height and form.
 Despite this, they are often neglected and forced into the wrong footwear. In addition, as we age, our feet change. 

Source: pinterest.com

60% of adults with foot problems

In industrialized countries, 60 per cent of adults now suffer from foot problems, although 98 per cent of them are born with healthy feet. Suitable footwear is the basic prerequisite for healthy feet because our feet are exposed to enormous stresses.

In the course of a lifetime, a person takes an average of 150 million steps. That's a distance that goes around the globe about three times! So feet have to withstand a lot.

Together with the first metatarsal, for example, the big toe bears 50 % of the body's weight - with every step.

But instead of thanking our feet, we squeeze them into shoes that are often far too tight and uncomfortable. Often it seems much more important that our shoes look good and match the latest fashion. Not only the wrong length but also shoes that are too wide, too tight and too high are uncomfortable and unhealthy and cause serious postural damage. In addition to an incorrect fit, permanent shock and upsetting loads also damage the feet - for example, due to a lack of damping. This can even lead to tension and pain in the back.

People get bigger, feet don't! The German Foot Report was the first foot measurement study on adults in over 50 years. The large-scale research project proved that 80% of Germans wear shoes that do not fit properly - the majority are too big - and that most people are not aware of this fact. Germans have become bigger and fuller over the past decades. Because this has also changed the demands on our clothing, clothing sizes have been adjusted again and again, most recently in 2009. However, this does not apply to shoe sizes. However, research has shown that the volume, width and circumference of the feet have increased. Therefore, a significantly larger range of widths is required than before. In order to be able to provide all feet with the right shoe width, approx. 17 widths would be required in each size. Neither the shoe industry nor the trade can realize this. Nevertheless, innovative changes are needed. Within the framework of a further research project, new width concepts are to be sought that enable a broader supply of suitable shoes at acceptable prices.

Foot torture due to wrong shoes Shoes that are too tight squeeze the feet, causing the toes to be compressed. Because the muscles that move the toes originate in the calves, constrained toes can lead to blood circulation problems in the legs. 
If shoes are too big or too wide, the foot doesn't find support and thus they slide around in the empty space meant for rolling. As a result, the toes are compressed with every step just as if the shoe were too small. At the same time, there is too much space at the heel, so that the foot slips out of the shoe. 
If shoes are too long, it hinders the foot from rolling. This can change the gait and put more stress on the joints. After a long time, the forefoot can even stiffen in the worst case.

Source: anodyneshoes.com

„Features of the shoes such as being too hard, too tight, too wide, too long or too high heels lead to additional problems such as tendon shortening, sore feet, blisters, pressure pain, deformities and skin disorders“ says Dr Guido Wendt, a specialist in orthopaedics (and advisory board member of mySHOEFITTER GmbH). Permanent foot problems in particular are painful and sometimes can only be fixed by surgery. Here are the most common foot problems:

Source: hksk.de

  • Bunion (Hallux Valgus) - predominantly in women

  • Bending/countersunk/spread/flat foot

  • Hammer toe (curvature between the proximal and middle phalanx -> hump)

  • Stiff big toe (Hallux Rigides ) - mostly in men

Toe malpositions also promote corns, calluses and ingrowing nails.

"Healthy" shoes 
One of the best ways to prevent foot pain and related issues like aching knees, hips and back is to invest in quality footwear. The right fit is key:

  • Business shoes: should not only look good, but especially be comfortable. Many suit shoes today are made with a sneaker-like sole that provides better cushioning, profile and arch support.

  • Casual shoes: this should be based on the natural shape of the foot, i.e .it should offer sufficient freedom of movement, but also fit well and support the natural rolling pattern when walking.

  • Active shoes: support not only natural walking through angled soles in the forefoot and heel area, but also activate the muscles. In addition, the material and shape must provide muscle-active cushioning support.

  • Safety footwear: has the primary goal of protecting against injury, as well as preventing joint wear and spinal discomfort. This footwear should provide support to the heels to relieve ankle stress and reduce the risk of twisting.

According to experts, walking barefoot is the healthiest thing to do, because without shoes your feet can roll freely and you automatically assume the correct foot position. As often as possible, you should therefore do something good for your feet and go with "naked feet".

Source: cfac.net