Shoes for Problem Feet Guide (8 types)

1. What Is Achilles Tendonitis and What Are the Causes?

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon on your body. It extends from the bones of your heel to your calf muscles. It’s that stretchy band of tissue at the back of your ankle that lets you point your toes towards the floor and raise your tiptoes. Someone who suffers from Achilles tendinitis will typically have swollen tendon caused by an injury in this part of the heel.

An injury in the Achilles tendon can be mild or moderate. Symptoms include stiffness or burning pain above your heel. Your Achilles feels tender or swollen, especially when you stand on your toes or stretch your ankle.

Injuries tend to occur due to sudden movements as you lift and push off. For example, the abrupt movement made when a sprinter surges off the starting block at the beginning of a race may affect the tendons. In addition, research has found that men over 30 are prone to Achilles tendon injuries. Another cause of the Achilles tendon is stress due to high-impact activities. Achilles tendon can happen to anyone, whether you’re an athlete or not. It could result from accidents such as falling from a high place or stepping into a hole.

What Are the Best Shoe Types to Wear for Heel Pain?

Everyone’s need is different depending on the type and how severe the Achilles injury is. However, experts recommend shoes with a raised calf and a turned-up toe or rocker under the toe to reduce the load on your Achilles.

Avoid flat shoes such as flip flops as walking with them for a long time allows the foot to collapse, contributing to heel pain. Elevated heels help with the alignment of your posture. The heel lift should be at least 1cm to have any impact. This type of shoe will place less tension or load on the Achilles tendon.

You should also ensure that the sandal is wide in the forefoot area. Shoes that let your toes spread and interact with the ground give you better control and stability. Additionally, shoes with more arch support help maintain the arch during walking. On the other hand, avoid high heels or stilettos as they place more pressure on the balls of your feet.

2. What Is Diabetic Neuropathy and What Are the Causes?

Diabetic Neuropathy is a complication leading to nerve damage resulting from Diabetes Mellitus (DM). Too much Glucose (High Blood Sugar) or fats (Triglycerides) can damage several nerves in the body resulting in Neuropathy.

Diabetic Neuropathy, in most cases, affects nerves in the feet and legs. It is essential to know about this foot problem and how to care for it by wearing the right shoes. When you experience Diabetic Neuropathy, it could make you feel this tingling sensation and pain, after which you could lose feeling.

Losing feeling in your foot is dangerous because whether there is a blister on your foot or pebble inside your sock, you may not feel it. Furthermore, the amount of blood flow throughout your feet can be reduced by diabetes, making it hard for infections to heal.

Several of the following factors may have a contributive effect:

  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • High cholesterol can damage blood vessels
  • Drinking or smoking may also worsen it.
  • High blood sugar (glucose) can cause nerves changes and impair the nerves’ ability to transmit signals.
  • High Triglycerides and Cholesterol levels can also increase the risk of Neuropathy.
  • Genetic factors.

What Are the Best Shoe Types to Wear for Diabetic Neuropathy?

A Diabetic patient should consider shoes with:

  • Proper fit
  • Good arch support
  • Very good cushioning
  • Variable width
  • Orthotics
  • Extra-depth
  • Soft insole to allow for even distribution of pressure
  • Shock-absorbing sole for the sweet relief of stress on the bottom of your foot as you move.

A Diabetic patient should:

  • Avoid shoes with too flat soles because they mostly lack support
  • Avoid shoes with high heels because they may hinder foot pressure distribution.
  • Avoid shoes with pointed toes as they can squeeze your toes and cause you pain.

When making a selection, go for shoes with flexible materials. If you put on a tight-fitting shoe, Neuropathy might prevent you from feeling the pains which could be bad for your foot, especially if there’s a cut.

3. What Is Flat Feet and Fallen Arches and What Are the Causes?

Flat feet represent the absence of arches at the bottom of the foot. Research has it that flat feet are no sign of any severe medical conditions. Almost every baby is born with flat feet because arches don’t form at birth. But as growth takes place over the years—beginning from 2 or 3years—arches begin to develop underfoot.

On the other hand, fallen arches refer to a condition whereby the already grown arch falls back to the ground, which is more severe than flat feet.

The significant difference between flat feet and fallen arches is that flat feet are a natural occurrence—people are born with it—the arch later develops. On the other hand, Fallen arches are a situation whereby the grown arches later collapse due to weakened ligaments, aging, or other factors. When ligaments get strained, they lose the strength of holding up the arch resulting in gradual falling.

Flat feet can result from loose or weak joint connections, especially in younger children. However, in adults, there are various causes:

  • Torn/Weakened Tendons: The Tendons in our feet support and keep the arches together. If you pull a tendon or even weaken it over time, it can cause flat feet.
  • Foot Deformities: Foot Deformities like Rheumatoid arthritis can affect joints over time and lead to flat feet.
  • Broken Midfoot Bones: When the midfoot bones get damaged, it can result in flat feet.
  • Injured Ligament: Ligaments are very soft and tender, even as they offer support for the bones of the feet. When injured, joints get affected, which may result in flat feet.
  • Other mild or severe medical conditions: These include pregnancy, diabetes, Achilles tendon injuries, high blood pressure, broken bones, obesity, and cerebral palsy.

What Shoe Type Best Takes Care of Flat Feet?

  • As someone with flat feet, you need a shoe with a wide fit and a high front. Shoes with a pointed front could end up squashing your toes, which may lead to other conditions.
  • A low-heeled shoe with enough cushioning and heel support is advisable for flat feet. It will aid even distribution of pressure.
  • Since there is a tendency for the flat foot to roll inward, the shoe should have a solid heel and enough sole support to prevent overpronation.
  • A shoe with soft and protective Insoles would do great.

4. What Are the Causes of High Arches and High Instep?

Everybody has a foot Arch located between the ball of the foot and heel. The height of this arch differs. However, some people suffer from high Arches, which come with some challenges, including pains and discomfort. High Arches could also impact the skeletal structure of your foot. When causing you some permanent skeletal problems, medical practitioners refer to it as Cavus Foot Deformity.

Here are some ways to find out whether or not you have high arches:

  • Experiencing pains while walking
  • Possible ankle sprain
  • Calluses on the ball of the foot
  • Claw toes/Hammertoes

Among the many possible reasons for High Arches is the genetic factor. Some people are born with this condition. However, severe medical conditions or neurodegenerative diseases/Disorders might be responsible sometimes. Examples of such include Stroke, Cerebral palsy, Muscular dystrophy, Polio, Spinal tumors, Spinal cord injuries, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT).

What Shoe Types Best Takes Care of High Arches/Insteps?   

Some features and mechanisms must be sought after when buying shoes for high insteps. These include:

  • Mechanized Arch Support: Because of the height of the foot arch, you need shoes specifically designed to provide Arc support.
  • Shock Absorption: High insteps can cause stress and strain on foot joints and muscles because it is not shock-absorbent. Therefore it is imperative to search for shoes with an excellent shock absorption level.
  • Soft and Removable Insoles: Insoles are known to support the arch. So you should make sure to get shoes designed with unique materials to provide the foot with a soft and tender feel. Also, the insoles should be removable. That way, it is easy to change if need be.
  • Proper Insoles: In addition to being soft and removable, the insoles should be curved enough and cover the whole foot up to the arch. This will provide the arch with maximum support.
  • Properly Cushioned Footbeds: Another factor to consider is an adequately cushioned footbed, as your feet need a proper place to rest on. Go for shoes that are cushioned explicitly for High Insteps.
  • Lightweight and Design: Heavyweight shoes are not suitable for those with high insteps. As such, you should look for lightweight shoes.

5. What Is Pronation and Overpronation?

Pronation is a term used to connote the foot’s natural movement and how it rolls inward for equal dispersion of pressure upon impact. While walking or running especially, your foot rolls inward when it hits the ground and absorbs the impact. Your body weight shifts the ankle towards the inside, and your spreads arch as your foot hits the ground.

Pronation is not entirely wrong as some people think. But it is essential for absorbing shock as you walk or run. Pronation does not cause foot pain. However, too much of it may result in displacement or overpronation.

When overpronation occurs, the entire feet spread upon contact with the ground, with the ankle rotating inwards, which causes misalignment of the hips and knees as they turn inwards. As a result of the stress and strains on the surrounding tissues, pains gradually develop.

Causes of Pronation and Overpronation

  • Genetics: In some cases, overpronation may be genetic and experienced from childhood. Nonetheless, Study shows that overpronation may be expected in young children because the foot Arch doesn’t fully grow till about age six.
  • Flat Feet: The highest tendency of overpronation lies with those having flat feet or fallen Arches.
  • Wear and Tear: Fallen Arches can result from wear and tear, strain, and too much stress on the ligaments, arch, and muscles of the foot. If the food ark is damaged, overpronation often occurs because it will not distribute impact effectively.
  • Wrong Footwear: Standing or walking in high heels for an extended period puts a lot of pressure and strain on the arch and surrounding ligaments and muscles. In addition, shoes that don’t fit properly, lack arch support or slide around while walking can cause arch flattening.

What Shoe Types Best Takes Care of Overpronation

Excess foot movement can bring about extra friction on different foot parts. The resultant effects can include calluses, patellofem plantar fasciitis, and pressure spot. However, you can manage these conditions by putting on the proper footwear.

  • Strategic Cushioning: Look out for shoes cushioned with soft and springy foam to balance the foot.
  • Durable Stability: Shoes that are too flexible are not suitable for overpronation as they were further the cause of in-foot rolling. So, excellent cushioning and less flexibility will do just fine for overpronation.
  • Firm Arch Support: The foot arch collapse occurs as the foot experiences rolling. One of the best ideas is to look for shoes with the perfect midsole to shield your foot arch.

6. What Is Plantar Fasciitis and What Causes It?

Heel pains are among the most typical foot pains, and Plantar Fasciitis majorly causes them, especially in adults. You usually feel it in the sole of your foot like a stabbing pain near your heel. Plantar Fasciitis is a situation that involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, which provides support to the foot’s arch and plays an essential role in normal foot mechanics during walking. As one grows, advances in age, and gains more weight, the Plantar Fasciitis gets thicker—as a result, the activeness of the ligaments also reduces—low shock absorption and flexibility.

Some common symptoms of plantar fasciitis may include:

  • Swelling of heels
  • Severe pain after exercise
  • Pain in the arch of the foot
  • Pain around the heel
  • A tight Achilles tendon

The plantar fascia’s primary function is to absorb the shocks, strains and stresses we place on our feet. However, too much pressure from activities can tear or damage the tissues.

The following are likely causes of Plantar Fasciitis:

This condition can result from the wrong shoe type, being overweight, engaging in prolonged standing or walking activities/jobs, or exercises that place stress on your heel. Having high arches and flat feet can also be factors. In Addition, Plantar Fasciitis is more common in older adults between 40-60yrs

What Shoe Types Are Best Shoes to Wear for Plantar Fasciitis?

To manage Plantar Fasciitis, be on the lookout for shoes that:

  • Offer adequate arch support, which will reduce pronation and prevent your feet from flattening out.
  • Shoes with contoured footbeds designed to distribute weight across your foot and help align them.
  • For additional support, shoes with removable footbeds could be more suitable as they will allow for easy removal of current footbeds for replacement if need be.
  • Consider shoes with deep heel cups to stabilize your heel with every step and keep your heel padded.
  • Opt-in for shoes with enough arch support.
  • Finally, the ideal shoe for plantar fasciitis patients should have an adequate midsole to reduce or absorb shock when the foot strikes a hard surface. Carefully observe shoes made with thick rubber outsoles. They’ll do great for shock absorption and traction.

7. What Are Wide Feet?

Wide feet, though not bad, are a condition when your feet are relatively larger than usual, and it can cause discomfort. The feet contain organs known as ligaments which provide support and stabilization to the arch, which shapes and structures the feet. It also helps in absorbing impact as you move. As Ligaments weaken with age, your feet could get larger. However, some are born with wide feet.

Wide feet could cause pain, swelling, and discomfort if you put on non-fitting shoe sizes.

There are several causes of wide feet, some of which include:

  • Genetic Factor: Genetics is a natural cause of wide feet. If a parent, perhaps ancestors, has wide feet, one or two children could inherit the trait. In this case, they are born with it.
  • Tearing of Ligaments and Tendons: Some people experience wide feet at their old age due to tearing of the ligaments, which are responsible for the feet’ support, shaping, and structure.
  • Swelling of Feet: Swelling of feet, otherwise known as Edema, is a medical condition that causes your feet to widen when it swells.Failure to get rid of excess fluid in the body’s tissues could result in Edema.
  • Pregnancy in Women: During pregnancy, the joints, tendons, bones, and ligaments in the feet are prone to loosening. While the relaxation and loosening process occurs, the extra weight gained from pregnancy makes the joints stretch and feet wider.
  • Non-fit shoes/foot defect: When affected by some foot defects like hammertoes, bunions, and calluses, it could result in foot widening. Additionally, wearing non-fitting shoes can also cause foot defects like ingrown toenails.

What are the Best Shoe Types for Wide Feet?

Many people think that putting on tight-fitting shoes is a way of taking care of wide feet. However, the reverse is the case as it has some side effects.

First and foremost, check out for the shape and size. Make sure that the shoe is a match for your foot width.

Look out for shoe brands with removable linings, wider and supportive insoles, and soft upper. This will allow for additional comfort.

It would be best to avoid sharp pointy shoes because there may not be enough room for wide feet. In addition, flat shoes are not ideal for a wide foot because they offer little or no support.

8. What Are Bunions and What Are the Causes?

Bunions are bumps that appear on the foot when some bones are out of place. In its worst case, Bunions, also known as Hallux Valgus, can begin from mild pain to a severe one—if not correctly taken care of. Bunions mostly bend the big toe forcefully, causing some excruciating pains and redness of the affected joints. It begins slowly and later graduates into Arthritis or Bursitis, which can be painful to walk around or wear shoes.

Some studies revealed that Bunion could originate a result of family traits. You could experience some signs/pains around your foot to create an awareness that you are beginning to experience Bunions. Some of these include:

  • Inability to move your big toes freely without feeling hurt.
  • Feeling bumps around your big toe.
  • Your big toe joints are turning red or beginning to swell.
  • Continuous pain in the foot
  • When the shoe forces your toes against each other, you could experience corns or calluses.
  • Soreness of and redness of the affected area.

Some of the different factors responsible for Bunions are:

  • Being Born with foot shapes prone to developing Bunions—Hereditary through the gene.
  • Putting on tight-fitting shoes
  • Certain health conditions like Polio and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Advancement in age can also be responsible for Bunions in some cases.

What Shoe Types Best Takes Care of Bunions?

The choice of shoe function over fashion is an essential factor that you should not undermine. Although this might not be a cure for Bunion, wearing the correct type of shoe can go a long way to relieve pains and care for your feet. If you suffer from Bunions, you should buy shoes that offer:

  • Comfort: Go for shoes with wide toe boxes because they would comfortably accommodate all your toes without causing you pain.
  • Cushioning and Arch Support: Shoes that have excellent cushioning and proper arch support would be ideal as they will provide your foot in general with extra comfort.
  • Soft Insoles: Choose shoes that have soft insoles. Their impact will be gentle enough to care for your foot should there be any soreness or pain.
  • Flexibility, support, and low-heeled shoe: Flexibility helps for less pressure on the foot, while low-heeled shoes support with equal dissemination of pressure across the feet.

On the other hand, you should avoid the following:

  • High-heeled Shoes: They do not allow for even distribution of pressure.
  • Narrow and sharp-pointed: They will cause stress and strains to the toes.
  • Tight shoes: They would not provide enough breathability and relaxation to the feet.
by Janice T. Strauss
Hi, I am Janice, I am a podiatrist and currently working with an NGO in Texas. I have seen the sufferings of people regarding footwear problems for problem feet. That is why I had started this blog.

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