Putting Your Best Foot Forward

ScienceHealthCosmetic ProceduresLifestyle and LeisureJulie DeardorffClubs and Associations

If you're wondering whether collagen injections will help pad your stilletto­ worn heels, podiatrists want to help.

The strong, flexible human foot - which has 26 bones, more than 100 ligaments, 30 joints and 19 muscles - is an engineering marvel. Over the course of a day, we subject our feet to weight loads equivalent to several hundred tons.

Pain often strikes when we cram our feet into ill-fitting shoes, something women do more often than men, according to a survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association. It's also a common complication of a medical condition, such as diabetes, arthritis and obesity.

We asked an Illinois podiatrist some questions.

Q: I'm in between sizes, should I buy up or down? Is it better to slip around or scrunch up?

A: "Neither," said Stephanie C. Wu, assistant professor of surgery at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago. "If you buy a size up or down, the foot is subjected to abnormal shear forces resulting in pain and blisters. Try looking for brands that make half sizes (a shoe size varies by only 1/8 of an inch) or shopping in the late afternoon or evening since our feet tend to be bigger at the end of the day.

If you're truly stuck, it's probably better to err on the slightly larger size, as an insole can often be used to fill in the extra space. Make sure the heel does not slip or rub."

Q: Can collagen injections help foot pain?

A: "High-heeled shoes and stilettos tilt up the heel bone (cancaneus) and subject the ball of the foot to support most of the body weight," said Wu. After a while, the pressure on the ball of the foot becomes painful. "The injection acts like an internal foot pad that follows the patient everywhere she goes and acts to mitigate pressure 24 hours a day," said Wu.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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ScienceHealthCosmetic ProceduresLifestyle and LeisureJulie DeardorffClubs and Associations
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