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J South Orthop Assoc. 1994 Winter;3(4):268-72.

The shod foot and its implications for American women.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, Tufts/New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Throughout history, members of human societies have gone barefoot, and those societies seemingly had a low incidence of foot deformities and pain. Only one study has addressed the problem of infection through injury to the bare foot; otherwise, the unshod foot seems to have had minimal problems. Initially shoes were made in the shape of the foot and were sandals. Over time, shoes became decorative items and symbols of status and vanity. As the shape of shoes changed, they became deforming forces on the foot and the source of pain. Recent studies by the Council on Women's Footwear of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society have tried to document the problems caused by shoes on the feet of American women. Attempts should continue to educate women on appropriate shoes and proper fit.

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