Research has found that 3 out of every 4 adults are wearing shoes that are either bigger or smaller than their correct foot size. This can increase the risk of foot, leg, ankle, and lower back pain, as well as various other problems. Shoes play a large role in foot and body health. When shoes do not fit properly, it can cause bunions, calluses, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures and more.

When your shoes fit your feet properly, and are not too tight or not too loose, they provide a steady platform for your foot to support your body weight. Wearing a shoe that is too big will make us walk in a dysfunctional and unnatural way. But if you wear a shoe that is too tight it will hurt your feet and, most likely, will lead to blisters, bunions and calluses. Both these scenarios can lead to serious foot problems.

When buying new shoes do not assume that a size in one brand equates to the same size in a different brand. To be sure you are wearing the proper shoe size when buying new shoes you have to measure your foot. Ideally, you want to have your feet measured by trained shoe-fitting professionals every time you buy a new pair of shoes, but at least, you should have your feet measured by a professional twice a year to rest assure that you are wearing the proper sized footwear. A couple of tips: It is best to measure your feet at the end of the day because your feet will swell during the day. One foot may be larger or smaller than the other, so make sure both feet are measured.

Sneakers are the only type of shoe that is beneficial to wear in a bigger size because it allows for better circulation, therefore they help to minimize swelling. A larger sized heel though, would force the distribution of weight onto the ball of the foot compacting the toes into a small space, which can lead to the progression of bunions, causing friction resulting in painful blisters and callouses. The blisters may also become infected and lead to greater complications.

When you walk in shoes that don’t fit properly you are not only affecting your feet, you are also affecting other parts of your body like your neck, back and knees. Your toes should be able to move freely and it is very important that you match your shoes to the activity you are going to be doing. Be careful of very old shoes because when shoes are worn out, they lose their ability to absorb shock which can also lead to injuries and pain.