15 November 2017

Why Top Athletes Suffer From Deformed Feet - And Why You Should Be Alarmed, Too

In top-class sports, only top performance counts. Sometimes even at the expense of the personal health of a superstar, as revealed in publicized doping scandals. However, athletes do not only use chemical performance enhancers – there is a much crueler form of self-tuning: cramming large feet into shoes 2-3 sizes smaller than the foot measures to excel performance. 

Disturbing trend: Feet-cramming to excel in sports. Picture may be published free of charge only in connection with the publishing of press release. Credit: adobe stock/vitaliy_melnik

For sprinters, the small-sized shoes allow faster speed. In football, they ensure better grip. In soccer, tight shoes increase ball control. And in ice hockey, they enable more precise steering maneuvers. "So many amateur sportsmen admire stars like Usain Bolt or Cristiano Ronaldo. It's shocking how many amateur sportsmen consider cramming their feet into tiny shoes, simply to run a little faster. There is huge discussion in sport forums about pros and cons of wearing small-sized shoes," states Tim Lilling, expert at

What at first appears to be a negligible matter, can eventually evolve into a serious health hazard. Crammed toes have insufficient blood circulation, resulting in oxygen and nutrients' deficiency. At first the toes become numb, then nail fungus spreads, after that the toes begin to die off. There is also an increased risk of blood clots which can end in heart attacks or strokes. Wearing tight shoes over years deforms feet. Walking problems and backaches being the least dangerous side effects.

Professional athletes earn a lot of money and have access to excellent medical care. To them, taking risk, may be financially worthwhile. But more and more sports amateurs blindly follow their role models. "We are seeing a disturbing trend to buy small-sized shoes. Especially teenagers and young adults buy their shoes up to two sizes smaller. This form of self-tuning is dangerous particularly for youths. They completely underestimate the long-term risks," states Tim Lilling. There is only one way to avoid serious damages: always buy shoes in the right size. 

See for an easy guide on how to measure feet correctly and convert into the right shoe size.

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