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5 shoes that cause pain & tips to choose the right one

shoes to reduce foot pain

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Lower back pain and posture problems can be exacerbated or even caused by wearing the wrong shoes. That’s where chiropractic care can be particularly beneficial, as it helps individuals address these issues. While style is important, it should never come at the expense of comfort and well-being. In this guide, we’ll discuss five types of shoes that can cause you pain and provide some valuable tips for selecting the right footwear to keep your feet happy and healthy, which in turn can support your lower back health and posture. Let’s delve into the world of footwear and learn how your shoe choices can impact your lower back health and posture.

5 types of shoes that are causing you pain

1. Flip flops

Flip-flops, the quintessential summer footwear. While they are undoubtedly comfortable and perfect for a day at the beach, they can wreak havoc on your feet if worn for prolonged periods.

Here are some of the reasons why they often cause you pain:

  • Lack of arch support: Flip-flops are notorious for their lack of arch support. Your arches play a crucial role in absorbing shock and maintaining proper alignment in your feet and legs. When you walk in flip-flops, your arches collapse with every step, leading to overpronation, which can cause pain in your feet, knees, and lower back.
  • Thong design: The single thong strap that runs between your big toe and second toe may seem minimalistic, but it can cause problems. Over time, the friction and pressure from the thong strap can lead to blisters, calluses, and even interdigital neuromas.
  • Lack of cushioning: Flip-flops usually have minimal cushioning, which means your feet are not protected from the impact of walking on hard surfaces. This lack of shock absorption can lead to pain and discomfort, particularly if you spend a lot of time on your feet.

4 tips for choosing the right flip flops

  1. Look for flip-flops with arch support to help maintain proper foot alignment.
  2. Opt for styles with thicker, cushioned soles to absorb shock and provide comfort.
  3. Choose designs with wider straps to reduce friction and pressure on your toes.
  4. Avoid wearing flip-flops for extended periods or for activities that require a lot of walking.

2. Ballet flats

Ballet flats have long been a favourite among fashion-conscious women, but they often fall short in providing adequate support and comfort for the feet. Here’s what you need to be aware of:

  • Minimal support: Ballet flats typically have thin, flat soles that offer minimal support and cushioning. Wearing these shoes for extended periods can lead to discomfort and pain, especially in the arches and heels.
  • Lack of shock absorption: Similar to flip-flops, ballet flats lack proper shock absorption. This means that every step you take can send shockwaves up your legs, leading to discomfort and potential foot problems.
  • No arch support: Most ballet flats do not provide arch support, which can result in arch collapse and overpronation (the arch of the foot collapses excessively downward or inward), leading to pain and issues in your lower extremities.

4 tips for choosing the right ballet flats

  1. Look for ballet flats with built-in arch support or use over-the-counter arch supports.
  2. Choose flats with cushioned insoles to provide some shock absorption.
  3. Limit the time you spend wearing ballet flats and alternate with more supportive shoes.
  4. Consider custom orthotic insoles if you wear ballet flats frequently.

3. Slip-ons

Slip-on shoes are convenient and stylish, but they can be a source of discomfort and pain for your feet. Here’s why they may not be the best choice for your foot health:

  • Poor fit: Slip-on shoes often have a loose fit, and without laces or straps to secure them, your feet may constantly slide within the shoes. This can lead to friction, blisters, and discomfort.
  • Lack of support: Most slip-ons lack the support needed for long periods of standing or walking. The absence of arch support can cause foot fatigue and discomfort.
  • Potential for ingrown toenails: The lack of a secure fit in slip-on shoes can increase the risk of toenails getting jammed or damaged, potentially leading to painful ingrown toenails.

4 tips for choosing the right slip-ons

  1. Look for slip-on shoes with a snug fit or an elastic gusset to keep your feet securely in place.
  2. Opt for slip-ons with arch support or add over-the-counter arch supports for extra comfort.
  3. Choose slip-ons with cushioned insoles to provide shock absorption and comfort.
  4. Be mindful of your toenail health and make sure the shoes do not squeeze your toes.

4. High heels or dress shoes

High heels and dress shoes may be the epitome of elegance and style, but they can also be the source of immense pain and discomfort, especially if worn for extended periods, due to the following reasons:

  • Pressure on the forefoot: High heels force your body weight forward, placing excessive pressure on the balls of your feet. This can result in pain, discomfort, and even conditions like metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot).
  • Foot misalignment: The unnatural position of the feet in high heels can lead to foot misalignment, affecting your arches and potentially causing plantar fasciitis, a painful condition that affects the plantar fascia.
  • Lack of shock absorption: High heels often have thin, hard soles that do not provide adequate shock absorption. This can result in discomfort and pain when walking on hard surfaces.

4 tips for choosing the right high heels or dress shoes

  1. Opt for heels with a moderate height (1-2 inches) to reduce pressure on the forefoot.
  2. Choose shoes with cushioned insoles or consider using over-the-counter insoles for added comfort.
  3. Limit the time you spend in high heels and alternate with comfortable, supportive shoes.
  4. If possible, opt for heels with a wider heel base to improve stability.

5. Platform heels and wedges

Platform heels and wedges are often considered a more comfortable alternative to traditional high heels, but they still pose certain challenges for your feet. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Increased risk of ankle sprains

Platform heels and wedges elevate your heel and forefoot, which can increase the risk of ankle sprains, especially if you’re not used to the altered foot position.

Lack of arch support

Just like traditional high heels, platform heels and wedges typically lack arch support, which can lead to arch collapse and discomfort.

Heavy shoes

The added weight of platform heels and wedges can cause fatigue in your leg muscles, leading to discomfort and potential foot problems.

4 tips for choosing the right platform heels and wedges

  1. Opt for styles with ankle straps or secure fastenings to reduce the risk of ankle sprains.
  2. Consider using over-the-counter arch supports or custom orthotics for added comfort.
  3. Choose platform heels and wedges with cushioned insoles to absorb shock.
  4. Limit the time you spend wearing these shoes and alternate with more supportive options.

11 tips to choose the right shoes

choosing the right shoe to reduce back knee pain

Now that you’re aware of the types of shoes that can cause you pain, let’s explore some valuable tips for selecting the right footwear to keep your feet healthy and comfortable.

1. Understand your foot type

One of the most important steps in choosing the right shoes is understanding your foot type. There are three basic foot types:

  1. Flat feet: If you have little to no arch in your foot, you have flat feet. Look for shoes with good arch support and stability features to help maintain proper foot alignment.
  2. Neutral arches: If your arch is neither too high nor too low, you likely have neutral arches. In this case, you have a wider range of shoe options, but cushioning and support are still essential.
  3. High arches: High arches create an upward curve in your foot. Shoes with adequate arch support and cushioning are crucial to prevent discomfort and potential problems.

2. Measure your feet regularly

Believe it or not, the size of your feet can change over time. Factors such as weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and age can affect the size and shape of your feet. Therefore, it’s important to measure your feet regularly to ensure you’re wearing the right shoe size. When measuring, consider both the length and width of your feet, as width is just as important as length in finding a comfortable fit.

3. Shop for shoes in the afternoon

Your feet tend to swell throughout the day due to the force of gravity. For this reason, it’s best to shop for shoes in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest. This ensures that the shoes you choose won’t become too tight and uncomfortable as the day goes on.

4. Pay attention to shoe width

Shoe width is a crucial factor in achieving a comfortable fit. If your shoes are too narrow, they can squeeze your feet, leading to discomfort, blisters, and even bunions. If they are too wide, your feet may slide around inside the shoes, causing friction and discomfort. Make sure to select the right width for your feet.

5. Consider the activity

The type of shoes you need also depends on the activity you’ll be doing. Different activities require different levels of support and cushioning. Here are some guidelines for selecting shoes based on various activities:

  • Running: For running, choose shoes designed specifically for this activity. Running shoes offer the necessary cushioning, stability, and support to protect your feet from the impact of running.
  • Walking: If you’re an avid walker, invest in a good pair of walking shoes. They provide the right support and flexibility for walking.
  • Sports: Different sports require different types of shoes. Whether you play tennis, basketball, or soccer, ensure you have the appropriate sports-specific shoes with the right support and traction.
  • Casual wear: For everyday activities, such as going to work or running errands, opt for comfortable and supportive shoes that match your style.

6. Test the fit

When trying on shoes, it’s crucial to assess their fit. Here are some tips to ensure you’re getting the right fit:

  • Wiggle room: You should have some wiggle room for your toes. A thumb’s width of space between your longest toe (usually the big toe) and the end of the shoe is a good rule of thumb.
  • Secure heel: Your heel should fit snugly without slipping out of the shoe. The shoe should cradle your heel comfortably.
  • Arch support: Ensure that the shoe provides adequate arch support for your foot type. If needed, consider adding over-the-counter arch supports or custom orthotics.
  • Walk around: Take a few steps in the store to see how the shoes feel when you walk. Pay attention to any discomfort or pressure points.

7. Choose quality materials

The materials used in the construction of your shoes can greatly affect their comfort and durability. High-quality materials, such as leather and breathable mesh, can enhance comfort and allow your feet to breathe. Avoid shoes that are made of cheap, non-breathable materials that can lead to sweaty and uncomfortable feet.

8. Rotate your shoes

Wearing the same pair of shoes day in and day out can lead to excessive wear and tear, which in turn can affect their comfort and support. It’s a good idea to rotate between several pairs of shoes to give each pair a chance to breathe and recover. This also helps extend the lifespan of your shoes.

9. Consult a podiatrist

If you have specific foot concerns or conditions, it’s a wise idea to consult a podiatrist. A podiatrist can provide you with personalised advice on the best shoe choices for your unique foot needs. They can also recommend custom orthotic insoles if necessary.

10. Consider your socks

Socks play an important role in your overall comfort. The thickness, material, and fit of your socks can impact the way your shoes feel. When trying on shoes, wear the type of socks you typically use for that activity to get an accurate feel for the fit.

11. Break in new shoes

New shoes can sometimes feel stiff and uncomfortable when you first get them. To break them in, wear them for short periods initially, gradually increasing the time as they become more comfortable. If a pair of shoes continues to cause discomfort even after breaking in, it might be best to reconsider their suitability for your feet.

What shoes should I consider for sciatica pain?

Sciatica is a condition that causes pain along the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back, through your hips and buttocks, down each leg. The right footwear can help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with sciatica. Here are some tips for choosing the best shoes for sciatica pain:

  • Arch support: Sciatica pain can be exacerbated by poor arch support. Look for shoes with good arch support to help maintain proper alignment and reduce strain on the lower back.
  • Cushioning: Opt for shoes with ample cushioning to absorb shock and provide comfort for your feet and lower back.
  • Orthotic insoles: Consider using custom orthotic insoles or over-the-counter insoles designed to provide additional support and comfort for those with sciatica.
  • Low heel: High heels or shoes with an elevated heel can worsen sciatica symptoms. Choose shoes with a low, stable heel or opt for flat shoes.
  • Stability: Shoes with good stability features can help prevent excessive movement and strain on your lower back and hips.

Tip: If you have radiating pain down your leg, find out if it’s sciatica and the various options that you can consider to manage sciatica pain, including chiropractic care with our guide on Sciatica!

What are the best women’s shoes for lower back pain?

The best women’s shoes for lower back pain are those that prioritise comfort, support, and proper alignment. Lower back pain can often be related to issues with posture and the alignment of the body, so the right footwear can make a significant difference. Here are some features to look for when choosing shoes to alleviate lower back pain:

  1. Arch support: Shoes with good arch support help maintain the natural alignment of your feet and, consequently, your lower back. Look for shoes that have arch support built into their insoles.
  2. Cushioning: Adequate cushioning in the midsole and heel area can help absorb shock and reduce the impact on your lower back with each step.
  3. Shock absorption: Shoes with shock-absorbing technology can reduce the jarring impact of walking, which can help alleviate lower back pain.
  4. Orthotic-friendly: If you have custom orthotics or insoles, choose shoes with removable insoles so that you can insert your own for additional support and alignment.
  5. Proper fit: Ill-fitting shoes can affect your gait and posture, leading to lower back pain. Ensure your shoes fit well and provide ample room for your toes and heels without causing friction or pressure points.
  6. Stability and support: Look for shoes that offer stability and support features, such as a reinforced heel counter and firm midsole, to help maintain proper alignment.
  7. Low heels: High heels can throw off your body’s alignment, potentially worsening lower back pain. Choose shoes with lower, more stable heels, or opt for flat shoes when possible.
  8. Walking and athletic shoes: If you need to be on your feet for extended periods, consider supportive walking shoes or athletic shoes that are designed for comfort and stability.

Examples of shoe types that are often recommended for women with lower back pain include orthopaedic shoes, supportive sneakers, and walking shoes. It’s important to choose footwear that is suitable for your specific needs and lifestyle.

Tip: Experiencing lower back pain? Find out more about lower back pain management with chiropractic adjustments and other techniques!

What are the best men’s shoes for foot pain?

The best men’s shoes for foot pain are those that prioritise comfort, support, and the specific needs of the individual. When it comes to finding the right footwear to alleviate foot pain, several factors should be taken into consideration:

  1. Arch support: Look for shoes that provide excellent arch support. Proper arch support helps distribute the body’s weight evenly across the foot and can reduce the risk of conditions like plantar fasciitis.
  2. Cushioning: Adequate cushioning is crucial to absorb shock and reduce pressure on the feet. Look for shoes with cushioned insoles and midsoles, especially if you have conditions like metatarsalgia or arthritis.
  3. Proper fit: Ill-fitting shoes can exacerbate foot pain. Make sure the shoes fit your feet well, with enough room for your toes to move comfortably and without causing friction or pressure points.
  4. Wide toe box: A wide toe box allows your toes to spread naturally and can be beneficial for conditions like bunions or hammertoes.
  5. Orthotic-friendly: If you have custom orthotics or insoles, look for shoes with removable insoles so that you can insert your own for additional support.
  6. Breathability: Choose shoes made from breathable materials to prevent moisture buildup and keep your feet dry and comfortable.
  7. Quality and durability: Investing in high-quality, durable shoes is essential. Quality shoes are designed to withstand the rigours of daily wear and provide consistent support.
  8. Activity-specific shoes: Consider the activities you’ll be engaging in while wearing the shoes. For sports or running, choose athletic shoes designed for your specific sport. For work or casual wear, opt for shoes that offer the right support for extended periods.

Examples of shoe types that are often recommended for men dealing with foot pain include orthopaedic shoes, supportive sneakers, walking shoes, and comfortable dress shoes. The specific choice may depend on your foot condition and lifestyle.

What types of shoes support heel pain?

If you’re dealing with heel pain, such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis, it’s crucial to choose footwear that offers optimal support. Here are some shoe types to consider:

1. Arch-supporting shoes

  • These shoes feature built-in arch support to reduce strain on the plantar fascia, easing heel pain. Look for shoes with contoured insoles that cradle the arch of your foot.

2. Cushioned heel shoes

  • Shoes with extra cushioning in the heel area can absorb shock and alleviate pressure on your heel, making them an excellent choice for those with heel pain.

3. Orthopaedic shoes

  • Orthopaedic shoes are specially designed to provide comfort and support for various foot conditions, including heel pain. They often feature removable insoles, allowing you to use custom orthotics if needed.

4. Slip-on shoes

  • Slip-on shoes with an open back can be a great option for those with heel pain. They eliminate the need for excessive bending and can help reduce discomfort when putting on or taking off your shoes.

5. Heel cups and inserts

  • While not shoes themselves, heel cups and inserts can be added to your existing shoes to provide extra cushioning and support to the heel area.

Remember that proper fit is crucial, so make sure the shoes you choose provide ample space for your toes, proper arch support, and heel cushioning to help alleviate heel pain.

What running shoes are good for knee pain?

running shoes to reduce back pain

Knee pain can be debilitating, but the right running shoes can make a significant difference in your comfort and performance. Here are the features to look for when selecting running shoes to alleviate knee pain:

1. Cushioning

  • Look for running shoes with ample cushioning in the heel and forefoot. This cushioning helps absorb impact, reducing the strain on your knees during each stride.

2. Stability and support

  • Opt for running shoes with good stability and support features. This can include reinforced heel counters and midsole technologies that enhance stability and reduce overpronation, which can contribute to knee pain.

3. Proper fit

  • Ensure your running shoes fit snugly but not too tight. An improper fit can lead to discomfort and potential knee strain.

4. Shock absorption

  • Running shoes with shock-absorbing technology can help reduce the impact of each step, lessening the strain on your knees.

5. Motion control shoes

  • If you overpronate or have other gait issues, motion control shoes may be the right choice. They provide extra support and control to prevent excessive movement that can lead to knee pain.

When shopping for running shoes to alleviate knee pain, consider visiting a specialty running store where experts can assess your gait and recommend the most suitable options.

What running shoes are good for ankle pain?

Ankle pain can make even the simplest of activities a challenge. Choosing the right running shoes can provide the stability and support needed to alleviate ankle discomfort. Here are some factors to consider:

1. High ankle support

  • Look for running shoes that provide high ankle support to stabilise your ankle joint and reduce the risk of twisting or spraining.

2. Cushioning

  • Adequate cushioning in the midsole and heel area can help absorb shock and reduce the impact on your ankles during running.

3. Sturdy outsole

  • A durable and grippy outsole can help you maintain stability while running and prevent slips and falls that could worsen your ankle pain.

4. Proper fit

  • Just like with knee pain, a proper fit is essential. Shoes that fit well and have a secure lace-up system can provide added ankle support.

5. Orthotic-friendly options

  • If you require custom orthotics to address your ankle pain, choose running shoes with removable insoles that can accommodate these inserts.

Remember that the right running shoes can make a significant difference in managing ankle pain, so don’t compromise on quality and fit.

What are some options of MBT shoes that you can consider to prevent or reduce pain?

In partnership with MBT Singapore, we’ve compiled a list of alternatives for the footwear above for you to consider before making your next shoe purchase!

MBT’s shoes are known for their patented rocker bottom sole which helps to change the way most of us use our muscles to walk/run as well as reduce shock forces to our entire skeletal system.

The shoes are based on the study of biomechanics and natural stability to create footwear that combines a balance of function and style with its patented construction. Some of MBT’s curved sole benefits include improved posture and balance, activates neglected muscles, reduced lower back pain and enhanced recovery.

1. “Fitted” Sandals

fitted sandals to reduce foot pain

An alternative to your flip flops can be MBT’s LAMU Women’s Recovery Sandal In White. Anatomically shaped foot bed hugs and supports your arches, while helping you maintain natural alignment. Made of a special MBT cushioning material for that ultimate cushioned ride, the deep heel cups cradle and support your heel.

Accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting quality foot health.

2. Cushioned “ballet” flats

cushioned ballet flats to reduce foot pain

MBT HANA Women’s Fitness Walking Shoe In Taupe. With slip-on convenience and unprecedented relief and protection, the rockered HANA activates leg muscles, enhancing comfort and natural balance as you move. Accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting quality foot health.

3. Comfortable Slip-Ons

comfortable slip ons to reduce foot pain

MBT MODENA II Women’s Slip On Fitness Walking Shoe is an example of a comfortable pair of heels that has a cushioned footbed and rubber soles to soften the impact as you walk. First generation MODENA SLIP ON was a huge success and had been called back to the collection as people are saying it’s a must have in everyone’s wardrobe. Easy to wear, easy to match and is extremely comfortable. MODENA II has increased comfort and better fit. Accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting quality foot health.

4. Block Heels

block heels to reduce foot pain

A block heel gives the perfect amount of height and an ankle-strap sandal that can keep the shoe firm as you walk.

Stepping towards comfort: Choosing the right shoes to prevent pain

Your choice of footwear can significantly impact your overall comfort and well-being. Avoid the shoes that cause pain and discomfort, and opt for those that offer the right support and features to alleviate discomfort in your feet, heels, knees, or ankles. Keep in mind that a perfect fit, adequate arch support, and proper cushioning are essential for choosing the right shoes to prevent pain.

By following the tips we’ve provided and considering your specific needs and activities, you can ensure that your footwear supports your overall health and keeps your feet, heels, knees, and ankles pain-free. So, take the time to make an informed choice the next time you’re shopping for shoes, and your feet will thank you!

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