Prevent foot pain: Six steps
Foot pain isn't normal. Here are six ways to prevent it.
5. Reconsider the stilettos and flip-flops continued...
Ross, too, concedes that ''very occasional'' high heel wear is probably OK, but only up to a 5cm (2in) heel.
Why not a higher heel? "It may look great and sexy, but it's very hard on the feet," Frisch says. The higher the heel, the more pressure it put on the balls of the feet. Wearing high heels also becomes more uncomfortable with age, he says, because of foot changes such as loss of the fatty pads on the bottom of the feet.
If you notice friction points, areas that become irritated when you wear high-heeled shoes, put a plaster on ahead of time to cut down on the friction, Frisch suggests. Often, the friction point is the little toe, especially in closed-toe shoes, or the heel, he says.
Flip-flops are another point of contention with foot specialists. ''Skip the flip-flops," Ross says. That's especially true, he says, if you over-pronate. Your feet will roll in even more if you have a flip-flop habit. "There is no protection, there is no support, there is no stability."
When pressed, Ross says occasional flip-flop wear may be OK for dedicated lovers of the shoe style - but only ''if you are not doing a lot of walking".
For those who can't give up their flip-flops, Frisch suggests considering the flip-flop styles with built-in arch support. Manufacturers note the arch support feature prominently.
6. Pick your barefoot moments
When in the warmth of your home in winter, or on a warm summer day, it's tempting to toss aside your shoes and socks.
''It's easier to have an accident when barefoot," Frisch says. You can easily step on something, especially outdoors, or stub your toe on furniture indoors.
People with healthier, pain-free feet are safer going barefoot than people with foot problems, Ross says. If your foot still has an adequate fat pad and no calluses, it's OK sometimes, he says. However, if you have foot problems to begin with, he advises against going barefoot.
Consider the environment when deciding whether to go barefoot, Ross says. In a health club, for instance, you may be risking a fungal infection if you shed shoes and socks.
Diabetics should never go barefoot, Ross says. ''They may be suffering from diabetic neuropathy (a nerve problem) so they may not be feeling their feet." If a foot infection strikes, they may have more trouble than others fighting it off, he says.