As any fashionista knows, pizza slices with heels dominate this season's footwear displays. To check the point, we headed to Nordstrom, tape measure in hand. Our finding: an abundance of styles with a toe box narrower than three inches -- the standard for a medium-width foot. (What most shoes took off the width, they added to the prow, some projecting 11/2 inches beyond the usual shoe end.) We spoke with several medical specialists about this latest fashion fetish.

Other than discomfort, are there hazards of trying to squeeze a squarish foot into a triangular-shaped shoe?

You bet your bootie, says Washington podiatrist Harold Glickman. Pressure from sharply tapered shoes causes corns and calluses -- tender growths of skin under feet or toes. Over time, the pressure can lead to painful bunions (enlarged joints at the base of the big toe), bunionettes (smaller versions on pinky toes) or hammer toe, a permanent bending of the toe joints. Overweight women are at increased risk of foot problems.

Besides pain, what tells you your shoes are too tight?

If you can't curl your toes, consider that a clear message, Glickman says.

And to soothe achy dogs after a big night out?

Soak sore feet in cool water with Epsom salts, says orthopedist Sharon Dreeben, a spokeswoman for the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. Lance a blister with a small needle and cover it with a bandage.

What about cosmetic surgery to make shoes fit better?

Don't go there, advises the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, which says such procedures carry risks without medical benefit.

-- Rita Zeidner