Dedicated followers of fashion looking to step into the shoes of glamorous film stars have been warned they face being crippled for life. A rise in foot injuries, leading to chronic pain and even amputations, among young women has created a busy time for podiatrists across the country.

Dedicated followers of fashion looking to step into the shoes of glamorous film stars have been warned they face being crippled for life. A rise in foot injuries, leading to chronic pain and even amputations, among young women has created a busy time for podiatrists across the country.

Sales of stiletto footwear have rocketed over the past couple of years followed quickly by a rise in foot injuries. At hospitals in Glasgow girls as young as 10 have had to be treated for a range of injuries caused by their shoes.

"On the window sill of my office I have a pair of high-heeled pointed-toe shoes that would fit a six-year-old," said Gordon Watt, a lecturer in podiatry at Glasgow Caledonian University. "Logic dictates that if you are going to wear shoes which aren't foot shaped, have pointed toes and high heels then you are going to get trouble.

"A few years ago there was a fashion for feet-friendly shoes. Trainers, Doc Martens and Caterpillar boots with sensibly-shaped toe-boxes, low heels and laces were the in thing and there were a lot fewer problems. Fashion has gone back to the pointed-toed stiletto of the 1960s and 1970s which is responsible for a lot of chronic problems."

Podiatrists have warned that forcing feet into small shoes can cause bunions, corns, hammertoes or excessive ankle pain and even arthritis. Among the biggest culprits for foot pain they say are the pointy-toed high-heels which cause the foot to be thrown forward and into the restricted toe-cap with each step. Coupled with the fact that many women wear their shoes a size or two smaller than they should, their toes become crushed and deformed.

"I have known a lot of patients who have been wearing these shoes for some time having to have their second and third toes amputated," said Mr Watt.

"What tends to happen is that a bunion develops because of the pressure on the big toe which then causes the second toe to become hammered and quite useless. Unfortunately when that toe is amputated the first toe sometimes moves into the space which makes the deformity greater because that has to be lopped off as well. Some people may find it might just take a few years before they face such a problem."

Experts recommend that people choose shoes a half size to a full size longer to avoid foot pain, wear heels no higher than two and a quarter inches, leave plenty of wiggle room for toes and, when buying a new pair, go shopping late in the day because your feet tend to swell toward evening.

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