Beautiful Shoes, Painful Feet: What you need to know before your next shoe shopping trip

More than half of us suffer from foot problems and often those problems are directly related to our shoes, according to a study from the Institute for Preventive Foot Health.

Consumer Reports On Health says wearing the wrong shoes can lead to life-long deformities that require surgery to fix.

Shoes that force feet into narrow or pointy toes can cause bunions or hammertoes, where the toes curl downward unnaturally.

High heels can shorten your Achilles tendon, and can trigger plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissues of the soles of the feet. Even flat shoes can harm your feet if they lack support and cushioning.

So, how do you put your best foot forward? Consumer Reports On Health advises opting for a lower heel to take some of the pressure off the ball of your foot. Make sure that there is enough room in the toe, and avoid thin-soled shoes that have little or no support.

The most common problem is simply wearing the wrong shoe size. One study revealed that over a third of people wore shoes that were off by a half size, and 12 percent wore shoes that were off by one and a half sizes!

So have your feet measured each time you buy and keep your emotions in check. Be aware that your feet change as you age. They lose padding and they lengthen and spread. People over the age of 40 can gain a half a shoe size every 10 years. All the more reason to measure.

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