Tourists are advised to wear shoes with at least a 1cm heel in accordance with their weight and foot shape to avoid excessive pressure on their heels from walking long distances and to avoid Achilles tendonitis, a doctor has said.
Tsai Yung-yuh (蔡永裕), head of the rehabilitation center at Cheng Ching General Hospital’s Chung Kang Branch, said a group of wealthy women who had spent days walking in flat-soled shoes during a trip to Europe, recently visited his outpatient service.
They had not been wearing high heels, but the flats they wore during their journey were largely made with an attenuate heel that caused severe pain after walking long distances, Tsai added.
“Wearing the wrong type of shoes during a trip can be a nightmare. While some believe that flats are a better option [than high heels], what really defines a pair of ideal walking shoes is the height of its heel,” the doctor said.
Tsai added that in most circumstances, people’s heels make contact with the ground first when walking, putting most of the pressure on that part of the foot.
Extra insoles added to the flats are insufficient to absorb the pressure exerted on the foot, Tsai said, adding that walking in such footwear would cause continued pressure on the heels. If this is repeated often enough, it results in the lengthening of the Achilles tendon, which causes tendonitis and soreness.
People who are obese — classified as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or above — should pay more attention when selecting footwear, Tsai said.
Because of their body weight, overweight people may be susceptible to greater physical harm with a higher chance of injuring their tendons if walking in flats or uncomfortable shoes, he said.
“Choosing shoes is an art and a science. In addition to looking right and being lightweight, the best shoes should have a heel of at least 1cm in height and be the best fit for one’s foot shape and weight,” Tsai said.