Health Watch -- Shoe Shopping

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Are you looking for a great pair of shoes for a big Valentine's Day date? Look for shoes that are good for your feet.

Shoes that look good on the magazine page may feel bad on your feet, and the pain may last longer than an evening. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say that wearing improperly designed shoes can cause long-term damage to your feet. Unfortunately, it's the shoes that are generally considered the most stylish or fashionable that are the most painful. This means that vanity could be hazardous to your health, or at least your comfort.

If you wear high heels for extended periods of time, you could end up with foot or ankle problems. Pointy-toed shoes can cause foot deformities. Shoes that don't fit well can rub, causing corns, blisters and calluses. If you think you can't look good without wearing high heels, look at men. UT Southwestern doctors say 90 percent of their patients with foot problems are women because they're more likely to wear uncomfortable shoes. Men are more likely to choose shoes for comfort than for style, so they have fewer problems.

To choose shoes that won't cause pain or long-term damage, look for shoes that provide plenty of room in the toe. Heels should be lower than two inches high. No matter how pretty the shoes are, don't buy them if they're uncomfortable in the store. It's best to go shoe shopping in the afternoon, when your feet are slightly swollen. That way, the shoes you buy are more likely to fit comfortably throughout the day.