Epidemiology of Shoe Wearing Patterns Over Time in Older Women: Associations With Foot Pain and Hallux Valgus

Hylton B Menz, Edward Roddy, Michelle Marshall, Martin J Thomas, Trishna Rathod, George M Peat, Peter R Croft
Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2016, 71 (12): 1682-1687

BACKGROUND: Foot problems are prevalent in older women and are thought to be associated with footwear. This study examined women's shoe wearing patterns over time and evaluated associations between footwear characteristics and foot pain and hallux valgus.

METHODS: Women aged 50-89 years (n = 2,627) completed a survey that included drawings of four toe-box shapes and four heel heights. For each life decade, participants indicated which footwear style they wore most of the time. Foot pain in the past 12 months and hallux valgus were documented by self-report. Logistic regression examined associations between heel height, toe-box shape, foot pain and hallux valgus.

RESULTS: Wearing shoes with a high heel and very narrow toe box between the ages of 20 and 29 was common, but decreased to less than 10% by the age of 40. Compared with women who had worn shoes with a very wide toe box, the likelihood of hallux valgus increased in those who had worn shoes with a wide (odds ratio [OR] 1.96, 95% CI 1.03-3.71), narrow (2.39, 1.29-4.42) and very narrow (2.70, 1.46-5.00) toe box between the ages of 20 and 29 and those who wore shoes with a very narrow toe box (1.93, 1.10-3.39) between the ages of 30 and 39.

CONCLUSIONS: Women wear shoes with a lower heel and broader toe box as they age. Wearing constrictive footwear between the ages of 20 and 39 may be critical for developing hallux valgus in later life.

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