There's no denying the convenience and comfort afforded by the best flats for females considering everything we know about the dangers of high-heeled shoes, you'd assume ballerina flats are risk-free. (Representational Image/AFP)
Marilyn Monroe once said, "Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world." As shoes go, ballet flats are a classic. They’re versatile, easy to wear, soft, and flexible, and they’re frequently worn by celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Deepika Padukone, Shilpa Shetty, Meghan Markle, Hailey Bieber and Katie Holmes. There’s no denying the convenience and comfort afforded by the best flats for females — considering everything we know about the dangers of high-heeled shoes, you’d assume ballerina flats are risk-free.
However, specialists have now warned that wearing flat shoes can "change the alignment of the leg and foot," putting "extra stress on the knee joint." Flat shoes, because they provide no support, increase the risk of knee arthritis. When joints are "overloaded," the cartilage may experience severe pain.
Keep an extra pair of more supportive shoes in your backpack for days when you’ll be wearing flats a lot, experts recommend. Wearing heels has the same impact. Foot form may not be the first thing that springs to mind while thinking about shoes, says Dr Ishani Chaudhary, Deformity Correction and Limb Lengthening Orthopaedic specialist. "In reality, most people never take the time to assess or ascertain their foot shape. The shape of the lower limb bones and joint locations determine how the weight goes down your hips, knees, and ankles, and this is referred to as limb alignment," says Dr Ishani.
ANATOMY OF A HEEL
It is critical to understand your body. Are your lower limbs in varus (bow legs) or valgus (knock knee) position? Similarly, the feet the foot arch and degree of pronation are significant. Footwear must be useful first and fashionable second. It must meet your body’s needs because your feet bear the majority of your weight throughout the day," says Dr Ishani.
"Flats, particularly rigid ones, have a tendency to entirely skip the natural arch ofthe foot, altering weight distribution. And heels place extra strain on the forefoot and knees, as well as altering posture throughout the lower limbs and back. When we spend more than 8 hours a day for months in improper footwear, we get postural aches and pains," she adds.
THE RIGHT FIT
Look for footwear that suits your anatomy (to promote comfort). "Carrying two pairs of shoes is a good idea. One comfortable pair of shoes with better cushioning and arch support for commuting and walking the majority of the time. And another stylish pair of shoes for the meeting’s brief length," says Dr Ishani, who has actively trained in dance to keep herself fit, and has worked with ballet dancers to help them move pain free, especially because they spend long hours in heels with demanding positions. "Even though they hold the whole weight of your body, your feet and ankles are the most ignored portions of your body. And taking care of them with modest regular workouts once or twice a day might help prevent foot and ankle aches and pains," she notes.