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Here's What Can Happen When You're Always Wearing Tight, Pointed Shoes

It's not pretty.
Here's What Can Happen When You're Always Wearing Tight, Pointed Shoes
IMAGE Gab Gutierrez
It's not pretty.

The list of things that we're willing to overlook in the name of fashion is...well, pretty long. And that list wouldn't be complete without the subject of shoes coming up. High heels and pointed shoes are our guilty pleasures—despite how much they make our feet suffer, our closets can't get enough of them. Call it the fashion girl disease (which, most likely, will never have a cure).

Our stubborn nature aside, we should know our limits because our feet definitely have them. Wearing shoes that don't perfectly fit on the daily can cause several problems, and let us warn you: they're not pretty. Below, Dr. Carlo Angelo Borbon, an Orthopedic Surgeon in MakatiMed, reveals six things we can develop from wearing ill-fitting footwear:

1. Bunion

What it is: An enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the base of the big toe.

According to Dr. Carlo, bunions form when our feet try to adjust to shoes that are too tight and pointed. "As the bunion grows, the big toe may turn in toward the second toe and cause swelling and pain with shoe wear," he says.

Wearing shoes with a wider toe box is one way to treat this condition without surgery, along with wearing a spacer between your your first two toes. You can also tape your toes together and ice them. However, if these don't work, a surgery to remove the bunion might be in order.

2. Corn

What it is: A type of callus that develops when tight shoes put constant pressure on the skin.

Our skin can get irritations from our shoes in the form of painful calluses. Other than trying to exfoliate the area, the surgeon says that applying a foam pad over corn feet can help relieve the pressure. Also, wearing shoes that fit properly and have a roomy toe area will help and even prevent these from forming.

3. Hammer Toe

What it is: A condition in which the toe starts to curl up instead of lying flat.

For some of us who have longer toes, wearing shoes that fit too snugly can literally raise a problem. "The middle toe joint will bend up and if you have your foot in a tight shoe, it will rub up against the shoe surface and cause pain. In addition, the muscles that attach to the toes will continue to weaken if the foot stays in this abnormal position," Dr. Carlo explains. Ouch!

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Non-surgical treatments for hammer toe include strapping the toes, toe splints, and icing the affected area. You of course need to start opting for wide-toed footwear, because some cases will need surgery to correct the deformity.

4. Crossover Toe

What it is: When a toe moves to fold over another.

"A crossover toe forms when the toes are crimped in [a space that's] too small, and the constant pressure causes the second or third toe to move over the toe next to it," explains the surgeon. Try icing, taping, or using spacers to keep your toe toes apart, but do consult with your doctor if these don't work.

5. Ingrown Toenail

What it is: Inflammation that occurs when abnormal pressure is applied to the big toe.

Pointed footwear is definitely one to blame for this one, because some force our toes to stick closer together to fit inside the shoe. "The constant pressure results in inflammation and nail pain," says Dr. Carlo. He adds that these also occur in the big toe when the nail is cut short near the tip of the toe.

Other than wearing looser-fit shoes, the doctor suggests soaking the infected toe three to four times a day in warm water and trimming our nails straight instead of cutting the corners too short.

6. Diabetic Foot

What it is: Blisters or sores that might occur in diabetics.

Those with other complications such as diabetics should probably stay away from constricting shoes. Why? The surgeon explains: "People with diabetes often suffer from nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) in the foot and are not able to feel skin irritations, or even punctures. If a shoe is too tight on their foot, it may result in blisters or sores that can quickly progress to serious infections."

Avoid discovering these infections too late by inspecting your feet for pressure areas, redness, blisters, sores, scratches, and nail problems.

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