Females are different from males in structure and biomechanics. The foot in the female tends to have a narrower heel in relationship to the forefoot and overall is narrower than a man's foot relative to length. Females tend to pronate their feet more and have smaller Achilles tendons than males, both factors having implications for shoe fit. Although shoes have been worn for thousands of years for the main purpose of protecting feet from the environment, recent studies have implicated shoes as the principal cause of forefoot disorders seen in females. Several authors have reported the harmful effects of shoewear and the greatest factor is a shoe that is improperly fit. With respect to foot disorders in the female, the current study will explore anatomy, biomechanics, common forefoot disorders, and shoewear through the ages, athletic shoewear, and a toe strengthening program.
From the University of California, Los Angeles, Orthopaedic Hospital Campus, Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Center, Manhattan Beach, CA.
Reprint requests to Carol Frey, MD, University of California, Los Angeles, Orthopaedic Hospital Campus, Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Center, 1200 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 208, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266.