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Changing fashions putting men more at risk of foot problems

Wednesday 2nd May 2018
Shoes with narrow toe spaces and in-built insoles are leading to an increase in foot pain and infections among men, a podiatrist has revealed. Image: Nadtochly via iStock
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Changing footwear fashions are placing men at greater risk of experiencing problems with their feet that require the care of a podiatrist.

Shoe styles with a narrow space for the toes increase the likelihood of complaints such as bunions, in-growing toenails and clawed toes, while those with built-in insoles to add extra height can lead the feet to be placed at an unnatural and uncomfortable angle, raising the risk of Achilles tendon pain and strain in the calves.

Meanwhile, non-leather shoes that have fabric linings do not allow the feet to breath, which makes the feet more likely to sweat, subsequently increasing the risk of fungal infections like athlete's foot.

Traditionally, these ailments have been associated with women who wear high-heeled shoes or footwear with little ankle support in the name of fashion, but podiatrists are increasingly seeing male patients complaining of similar issues.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Sydney-based podiatrist Nicole Reilly explained: "Men tend to ignore foot and ankle problems more than women, until it starts slowing them down.

"The feet are the parts of the body under the most pressure each day, and they need to be looked after, particularly if you stand up all day, work in heavy industry or play sport regularly."

She highlighted that younger men are frequently wearing unsupportive footwear to lift weights at the gym, which could be placing not just their feet, but also their legs and backs under strain, increasing the risk of a potentially life-changing injury.

Ms Reilly recommended that men's smart shoes for work should ideally have a wide toe space to allow them to breathe, and a heel height of no more than 2.5 centimetres, so as not to place the calves under unnecessary strain; advice that podiatrists may wish to pass onto their male patients.

Written by Angela Newbury

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