How to Find the Right Shoes To Avoid Pain
Thinking of purchasing new shoes for the new year? Here’s a guide to finding the best shoes for you!
Shoes come in all shapes and sizes. Many people are drawn towards a shoe because of its color, its fashion trend or its extra high heel. Any shoe can be worn for a short amount of time or for a one-time event, however, when you are picking out your daily shoes that you will be wearing to work and spending a significant portion of the day in — please be mindful and don’t just choose based on fashion.
Best shoes for Foot/Heel Pain:
Most people who end up having foot pain such as plantar fasciitis are generally wearing the wrong shoes for their body. Plantar fasciitis or stabbing pain along the bottom of your foot or heal, is generally caused by tight calfs, weak glut muscles and fallen arches. The best way to avoid this type of pain (which occurs commonly in ages 40–60) is to make sure you purchase a shoe with an arch support, also known as a stability type shoe. The best type of shoe is a supportive, stability type sneaker with a cushioned sole. The types of shoes you should AVOID wearing are: Uggs, ballet flats, flip flops, or hard soled shoes. If these are your only choice in shoes for work, then please purchase an arch support to place in your shoes (our personal favorite is Superfeet)
Best Shoes for Toe Pain:
About 25% of the population complain of pain on the outside of their first toe, called bunions or in between their toes, called Morton’s Neuromas. This pain is normally caused by years of improper shoe wear and is very common in females. To avoid this type of pain, it is best to purchase a shoe with a wide toe box. The shoes to AVOID are: pointed shoes, stilettos, narrow shoes/sneakers and high heeled shoes.
Best Shoes for Back Pain:
The majority of the population has experienced an episode of back pain or currently has back pain. Since every step you take affects your back, it is important to wear comfortable shoes that fit your foot structure. If you have arches that flatten when you stand on them (overpronate) then you should be wearing a supportive, stability type shoe. If you have very high arches that do not move when you stand on them (underpronate) then you should be wearing a flexible type shoe. If you have moderate arches that allow some give but not too much when you stand on them then you should be wearing a neutral type shoe. In addition, you should AVOID wearing old worn out shoes that already have a wear pattern on the bottom.
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If your back pain is made worse with sitting, bending or squatting, then your pain may be coming from a posterior pelvic tilted pelvis. Therefore, in order to change the dynamics of your posture and pelvic position, the best shoe to wear is actually a shoe with an elevated heel. This can be a platform shoe, a pump shoe or a thicker heeled shoe (1–2inches) with good shock absorption. Shoes to AVOID are flat shoes with no arch support, hard soles or a thin high heeled shoe.
If you are having back pain that is made worse with standing, walking and everyday activities, then the best type of shoe for your body is a supportive stability type sneaker with adequate cushioning. Shoes to AVOID are high heeled shoes, shoes with an elevated sole or flexible type shoes with no support.
This is a good list to start with however, in order to find the best shoe for your foot it is important to be evaluated first.
A physical therapist can evaluate your foot and help identify the improper body mechanics and foot structure that is causing you pain, then make recommendations specific to you. This can all be done without a doctor prescription via direct access and on demand with the betterPT mobile app. Through the app you can search and find trusted physical therapy clinics and see which clinics are in your area, which clinics take your insurance and have availability on the day you need it.
Download the betterPT app today to start on your path to recovery and get BETTER!