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 with proper arch support 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. Listen to the professionals when they recommend options to control foot and heel pain.
Best Shoes for Foot or Heel Pain:
Most people who end up having foot pain such as plantar fasciitis are generally wearing the wrong shoes for their bodies.
Plantar fasciitis or stabbing pain along the bottom of your foot or heel, is generally caused by tight calves, weak glute 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 arch support. This is 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 as follows.
- Ballet flats
- Flip flops
- Hard soled shoes
If these are your only choice in shoes for work, then please purchase arch support to place in your shoes. One example of this is Superfeet.
Best Shoes for Toe Pain:
About 25% of the population complains of pain on the outside of their first toe. This is called ‘bunions”. They also complain about pain 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
- Narrow shoes/sneakers
- 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.
For those that have very high arches that do not move when you stand on them (underpronate) then you should be wearing a flexible type of 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. Worn shoes may be comfortable and “broken in”, but they are also dangerous, especially to those that attempt to run or exercise in them.
What are other options for keeping your body healthy?
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
- 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 in this case are:
- High heeled shoes
- Shoes with an elevated sole
- 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. There are many different conditions that lead to foot and heel pain. For example, running injuries often occur when people choose and were shoes without proper support.
Recovery for Runners: Choosing the Best Shoes Possible
It’s not just about everyday shoes, either. Whole-body health begins with the feet – especially for athletes. When people are marathon or distance running training, shoes are the place to start. Any physical therapy professional or seasoned runner knows that the right shoes are a key to success. Marathon recovery won’t happen if you’re not wearing the right shoes – and incorrect footwear during races may do damage.
It’s no surprise when injuries like shin splints happen, either. While you can’t always outright prevent 100% of injuries, it’s possible to decrease the likelihood of them occurring. This is where support from sports physical therapists and other medical professionals comes in handy. You don’t simply need arch support – you need education, too.
Physical Therapy Professionals Provide More Than Just Arch Support
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’s prescription via direct access with the BetterPT mobile app or by using the BetterPT clinic location tool. Through the app, you can search and find trusted physical therapy clinics. Use this to see which clinics are in your area, which clinics take your insurance, and have availability on the day you need it.
If in-person physical therapy appointments for knee, leg, foot, or back pain aren’t what you want, consider utilizing virtual visits via telehealth. The BetterTelehealth platform offers patients and therapists a chance to connect and hold sessions without ever leaving their homes. Convenient, right?