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Living Healthy

Avoiding foot problems

BOSTON (WHDH) -- A problem that just about everyone can relate to - foot pain. Whether you're a waitress, an athlete or just a fashionista - we've all experienced it but there are ways you can give your feet a break.

Every day, our feet take a pounding.

Podiatrists say your whole foot is susceptible to conditions that can stop you in your tracks.

First up: bunions.

"A bunion is an enlargement of both the soft tissue and bone near the big toe joint. It can cause pain when the shoe rubs up against the area," said Dr. Vernon Garber, a podiatrist.

Bunions go hand in hand with high heels and heredity.

Severe cases need surgery, but often times the right shoe can fix it.

"From the vertical height of the shoe and the full foot as well as the width and that you don't have a lot of impingement, because that can cause a lot of problems," said Dr. Garber.

Ill-fitting shoes are also to blame for corns: pressure points on the tops and sides of toes.

Corn pads can help them heal, but not if it's too advanced.

"If there is a worry about infection or if a corn is consistently painful, then I would seek medical advice," said Dr. Garber.

Now calluses: age and shoe wear are the triggers for these and medication helps avoid infection.

"With proper shoe wear, proper support, occasionally anti-inflammatory medicine and also steroid injections are used in moderation."

Doctors say that when it comes to high heels, you should wear them in moderation.

"If you're wearing it all day long for months and years on end, the foot can adapt to that position and have less motion available in the muscles and joints of the foot," said Dr. Garber.

Physicists have even come up with a formula for shoe height: 12 plus three times your shoe size divided by eight.

But if you want to avoid the math and the foot pain, pick a solidly constructed, cushioned shoe that conforms to your feet and that should keep you pain-free.

If you're shopping for a new pair of shoes, doctors say try on different pairs in different sizes.

Many times, the sizes listed are not accurate for your actual foot length and width.