Ditch the clogs for sneakers, says podiatrist

Ditch the clogs for sneakers, says podiatrist

(Photo: Pixabay/Photorama)

SINGAPORE: Sneakers may be better for your feet than the modern iteration of Dutch clogs that many people in the healthcare and service industries favour, according to a podiatrist from New York City.

The modern version of clogs may be made of more malleable materials like rubber but Dr Suzanne Levine said in a Daily Mail article on Nov 21 that they are not much better than the traditional wooden ones.

According to her, wearing clogs for long periods of time can cause fissures in the heels, and stress that travels to the ankles, knees, hips and back.

“They’re rigid of sole and have no shock absorption. You can hear people clogging along, the gait is ridiculous and more importantly, the stress fractures and that shearing stretches up the spine,” said Dr Levine.

A study by researchers from the Western University in Ontario appeared to confirm that. When they examined the toes of more than 500 skeletons from an Amsterdam farming community that were 200 years old, they found craters carved out from the bones.

Dr Andrea Waters-Rist and team concluded that the “craters” were caused by osteochondritis dissecans, a condition in which the bone underneath the cartilage of a joint dies from a lack of blood flow, causing the bone and cartilage to break loose.

“If you think about how you walk, you bend your foot and press off the ball of your foot, that’s how you propel yourself forward,” said Dr Waters-Rist.

“But a clog-bound foot is not able to do so very naturally. You have to kind of kick the foot forward, and it changes the way we walk.”

Yet, many people in the healthcare and service industries, who have to be on their feet a lot, wear modern clogs to “accommodate their bunions and corns”, said Dr Levine.

She said that clogs may feel comfortable because they let the feet spread out. But this may not be necessarily good as it can lead to plantar fasciitis, a common form of pain that occurs at the bottom of your foot when you stand or walk.

Instead, Dr Levine suggests lace-up sneakers for a long day on your feet. She adds that any open-backed shoes should also be avoided, including flip-flops and mules.

“Having a little heel is so much better for your foot than a very flat shoe,” Dr Levine says. Flat shoes can lead to flat feet, burning and inflammation under the balls of the feet.