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Finding the Proper Shoes to Prevent Foot and Ankle Pain

Jan 12, 2015

The right shoes will support your feet and ankles, while the wrong shoes will only cause additional stress on your joints. It’s important to find the right shoes for you in order to prevent damaging foot and ankle pain that could lead to health problems in the legs, hips, and spine.

With the many different styles of shoes sold in stores today, it can be difficult to determine the most appropriate style for you. The following tips will help you find a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes that will provide stability for your feet and ankles.

Proper Fit

A proper fitting pair of shoes is crucial to your foot and ankle health. You’ll need to spend some time searching for the right pair for you and trying on several different styles. It may be time-consuming, but it will pay off in the long run.

It’s important that the shoe fits snugly, but isn’t too tight. Make sure there is enough room for your toes to wiggle comfortably. If you can’t wiggle your toes, the shoes are too tight. You’ll also want to avoid shoes with narrow spaces for your toes. Instead, choose a style with a wide toe box. There should about one-half inch of space from your longest toe to the tip of the shoe.

When shopping for shoes, use your shoe size only as a guideline. Every pair of shoes is different and they can vary slightly in size and fit. Always try them on to make sure they fit comfortably. You shouldn’t have to break in a new pair of shoes; they should feel good on your feet as soon as you put them on. Walk around in them and test them out for support and stability.

Arch Support

A supportive arch is also an essential part of a quality shoe. A shoe with good arch support will distribute your weight evenly across your foot. You never want one part of your foot bearing more of the weight and being more susceptible to injury.

To find a shoe with a supportive arch, you’ll need to determine what type of natural arch your foot has: flat, neutral, or high.

Flat feet need extra arch support because they don’t naturally have an arch. This creates additional muscle stress and joint issues. Look for shoes with a firm mid-sole and extra cushioning to prevent pain in the foot.

If you have neutral arches, you can typically wear any type of shoe that feels comfortable. Your natural arches have adequate arch support and shock absorption so you don’t need to rely on shoes for that.

If you have high arches, look for shoes with extra padding to provide sufficient arch support. You may also need to use an insert for additional support.

Different Types of Shoes

Athletic shoes come in many different categories such as walking, training, and running. It’s best to have different pairs of shoes for every activity you’re performing to provide both the adequate amount of support and stability, as well as to prolong the life of your shoes.

Follow these tips when looking for a new pair of shoes, and remember to replace them often. A worn-out pair of shoes has lost its cushioning, padding, and elasticity, and isn’t supporting your feet and ankles. The right pair of shoes will ease mild foot and ankle pain and will prevent injuries from occurring.

If you’ve been dealing with foot and ankle pain, download our e-book, Pains and Sprains: A Complete Guide to Foot Injuries and Disorders. This educational guide will help you find a reputable surgeon who you can trust to perform your surgery.