If you’ve ever hobbled off of the dance floor at a wedding with your heels in hand, or if you’ve ever found yourself looking forward to the moment you go home after a long day spent in meetings, so you can slip your new pair of suit shoes off – you’ll know shoes can easily cause foot pain.
This holds true for all types of footwear, not just the fancy kind…
Exercise shoes, office shoes, sandals, and that pair of weekend running around shoes we all have – they can all lead to painful feet too.
But before you throw out every pair of shoes in your wardrobe – let’s talk about your feet.
A lot of us are unaware of just how big of a role feet play when it comes to supporting your body.
Feet play the big job of supporting your body weight and take the impact of standing, walking, running and everything else you do throughout the day.
Your feet are made up of 26 bones, 33 joints and OVER 100 muscles, tendons AND ligaments – so when your feet don’t get the support they need, it’s no wonder why you can get issues!
A lack of support can also cause pain beyond your feet – your knees, back and other parts of your body begin to overcompensate, which can lead to pain in those areas too… not good.
With all of the above in mind – here are 6 shoe mistakes that cause foot pain, are you making any of them?
1. You’re Unaware Of Your Arches
Generally speaking, there are two types of feet:
1. High arched
2. And, low arched
And the demands for these two types are quite different!
For someone with high-arched feet – they have taller gaps on the soles of their feet.
For someone with low-arches – the curves between the balls of the foot and heels, are closer to the ground.
The curve of your show should support your arches so they can, in turn, support the rest of your feet and body. A good running shop, shoe shop, or even a physio clinic with a special machine – can figure out what’s best for you.
We customise shoes for patients all the time, and the difference in their pain means they can get back to walking around comfortably and independently again.
2. You Choose Your Running Shoes For Appearance
Have you ever bought a pair of running shoes because you think they look good? You’re not alone, many of us do, I’ve been guilty of it too!
But the truth is, picking the right performance shoe should be a strategic process.
When you need a new pair of trainers, go into a specialty running store and speak with a specialist. You need to consider things like the type of exercise you’ll be doing – running over 20 miles outdoors each week is VERY different from doing Pilates classes a couple of times a week.
If you can afford to, have a couple of kinds of trainers for the workouts you do most often.
Wearing a tennis shoe for running, or a basketball shoe for weightlifting, can encourage injuries – choose wisely.
3. You “Break In” Your New Pair Of Shoes
While it’s true that some shoes made of multiple materials, like hiking boots, might need some “breaking in” before you can get to the point where you feel like you’re walking on clouds – you should be careful not to rush the process.
Your shoes need to become accustomed to your feet over time to avoid pain and those nasty blisters that so often come with a new pair of shoes.
Instead of pushing through the pain – wear your shoes in a little at a time until they loosen naturally. Whether you’re doing this at home or while you’re out and about getting jobs done – keep a pair of socks and plasters handy to prevent blisters.
4. You Walk Around Barefoot At Home
As soon as you step through the door do you throw your shoes off and that’s you done for the day?
For a lot of us, taking our shoes off is one of the best feelings! But for some people, walking or standing barefoot on surfaces like hardwood floors, marble or tile puts stress on the structures of the feet either causing or making pain worse over time.
This can happen when the fleshing parts on your heels and balls of your feet which help cushion our bodyweight wear down.
If you have foot pain that feels worse when you walk around barefoot – get a pair of slippers to wear around the house to ease the pain.
5. You’re Still Wearing That Worn Down Pair Of Boots From 2014
Many of us only throw away a pair of shoes when they’re looking a bit worse for wear and worn down.
But once the sole of your shoe starts to break down, it changes the way your foot strikes the ground which can cause pain in your feet, hips, knees and back – this can also happen before your shoes start showing obvious signs it’s time for a brand new pair!
Depending on your activity level, it takes a few months to a year of daily use to wear out footwear.
If you really love a pair of shoes then re-soling them of adding insert can help prolong their wear.
But don’t hold onto a pair of shoes too long before it’s too late!
6. You Don’t Use Insoles
…Or understand their purpose.
Depending on your foot type and foot pain, you might already have the insoles that come with your shoes – however, they may not be right, or even supportive for you.
To ease the pain, stop it from getting worse or even to prevent it from coming on – it’s a smart idea to get yourself a pair of customised insoles (also known as Orthotics).
Rarely, however, are true custom orthotics available in many places, and most definitely not in shoe stores, in retail stores and even pharmacy’s.
Prescription Foot Orthotics ARE the most accurate custom functional foot orthotics and are made from non-weight bearing molds of your feet (but you don’t need a note from your doctor to have one).
They also act to make activities such as running, walking – even standing – more efficient. What’s more, they can act to redistribute pressure on the bottom of the foot to relieve pain from excessive pressure or calluses.
The takeaway: Your feet are probably doing way more than you give them credit for, so they need shoes to match.
The right choices for you will depend on your activity levels, height, weight, walking and running style. But if you’re experiencing any kind of foot pain that lasts for days, it makes it almost impossible to live your life as normal.
If you’d like to talk to an experienced Specialist Physio about the possibility of you wearing Prescription Orthotics and decide for yourself if they will add value to your health, like it does so many other people, then please call this number: 01429 866771 and request a FREE non-committal, no obligation Telephone Consultation.
You might know Paul as an expert Columnist who writes weekly health articles for TWO of the North East's biggest daily Newspapers, The Northern Echo And The Hartlepool Mail, he is a regular Speaker at Industry Seminars around the globe and a Radio Personality, often heard on the BBC. Paul has been an expert guest on dozens of Radio shows and regularly interviewed in newspapers, magazines and trade journals all over the world, including the Guardian.
Paul’s background included working extensively in the Premier League with a Top Professional Football Team, and since quitting his job in Professional Football in 2007, his Physio Practice has become the fastest growing in the UK and biggest in the North East. So successful, that companies like BUPA, ASDA, The Vela Group And Coast & Country, repeatedly retain his Physio company's services to keep healthy their own staff and workforce. Paul Gough Physio Rooms is now a large multi-physio, multi clinic speciality practice in Darlington, Durham, Guisborough and Hartlepool.
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