Brenda’s “Talented and Expensive Feet” and “Forgive Me Dear Feet” posts reminded me of something I can’t write enough about. If I see 100 people with painful hammertoes, bunions, or callouses, 99 are women. It’s partly because of the structure of our feet. But the same could be said for men. So why don’t they complain?
It could be because they tolerate the pain a little more. But mostly it’s because they’re willing to wear accommodating shoes, and they never wore extremely narrow, often ill-fitting shoes, high heels and backless mules! These shoes simply ruin women’s feet.
The high heel is a no-brainer. It takes our forefoot and crams it down into the narrow portion of the shoe. Our delicate and wonderfully flexible toes get shoved over and result in bunions. It’s not just a bump. It’s a complicated deformity. The second toe gets crammed over and forms a hammer toe. Because of the constant squeezing of our toes, the delicate nerves between them get squished, resulting in painful neuromas and neurogenic pain. As we age, when combined with neuropathy, it leads to even more pain. A wider toe box during childhood, might ease these deforming forces.
If the shoe doesn’t fit our heel, we use our toes in the swing-through part of our gait, to keep the shoe on. Those forces can also lead to hammertoes. Backless shoes have the same effect.
Those who are reading this blog have probably missed the boat in terms of damage done, but maybe you can help your daughters. My mom tried. But as soon as I got my first pay check, I promptly bought the tallest pair of skinny high heels I could afford… and wore them every day. And when I was 19, I had surgery on my bunions and hammertoes, so they looked nice in those shoes! Egads is right, Brenda!