Why women should ditch the stilettos and go shoeless

Kicking off your Manolos and going shoeless will keep the feet strong and flexible. A recent survey by the Royal Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (RCP) found that 80 per cent of women in Britain have suffered from foot pain and problems such as bunions, corns and cracked heels, often because of ill-advised footwear. In this year’s summer sales, an RCP survey found that 37 per cent of women bought shoes they knew didn’t fit them.   “Many of us find it hard to resist the latest fashion must-have,” says Lorraine Jones, a podiatrist from the RCP. “But it’s important to remember that by buying ill-fitting shoes, you’re not only going to end up in discomfort, but you are also putting your health at risk.”

The wrong shoe can lead to foot deformity, sprained ankles, torn ligaments, shin splints, knee pain, lower back pain and other joint or muscle problems. Any heel above 3in (7½cm) multiplies the pressure on the ball of the foot sevenfold. It can also shorten the Achilles tendon. Totally flat shoes, meanwhile, such as the popular ballet pumps, can stretch the tendon and may even rupture it entirely. The state of your feet is known to affect your whole body. According to the RCP, if you suffer from knee, hip or back pain, a small structural or functional imbalance in the foot could be to blame. Conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, neurological and circulatory disorders, meanwhile, can all show initial symptoms in the feet.

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