Nearly everyone knows the feeling of aching feet at the end of a long day. Your feet contain some of the smallest, most delicate bones in your body — yet they are responsible for supporting your body weight and carrying you through life.

Whether you’re standing, walking, or running, your feet experience a lot of stress. It’s no surprise that an estimated 80% of Americans suffer ongoing foot problems, but what should you do when foot pain infiltrates your everyday activities?

If you have foot pain, the first thing to evaluate is your footwear. Bryon Butts, DPM, and our team at Performance Footcare PC work with adults to diagnose their pain and find foot-friendly shoes that support their feet no matter their activities.

Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping for shoes.

What to look for in new shoes

Many of us like to wear shoes that are fashionable, even though some of the most fashionable styles can contribute to chronic conditions, from bunions to heel pain.

You might not think twice about the shoes you wear every day, but the truth is that your shoes could be a major factor in your foot pain. The good news is that finding foot-friendly shoes is easy, and wearing comfortable shoes can help your feet feel better.

In general, shoes that are cushioned and supportive can help fight foot pain and other symptoms. Foot-friendly shoes typically have:

  • Arch support
  • Cushioning
  • Flat or low heels
  • Structure
  • Wide toe boxes

Look for shoes that gently support — but don’t squeeze — your feet. Your feet should have plenty of room in the shoes, but they shouldn’t slip around when you walk.

It’s important to find comfortable shoes that are appropriate for the activities you do. For example, if you spend long hours on your feet at work, consider investing in supportive, high-quality work boots. If you’re a runner, take the time to find running shoes that fit your feet properly.

What to avoid when you’re shoe shopping

Just like there are a few key features to look for while you’re shopping, there are some things you should avoid when buying new shoes. Shoes that feel tight or uncomfortable when you’re trying them on will only get more uncomfortable the longer you wear them.

Avoid shoes with pointed, narrow toe boxes that squeeze your toes. Avoid shoes with high heels, because these increase pressure on your toes and could increase your risk of bunions and hammertoes. Finally, avoid flat shoes like ballet flats and flip-flops without any arch support.

When to consider custom orthotics

Wearing foot-friendly shoes can make a big difference in managing acute foot pain and preventing more serious complications from developing. But if you have a chronic condition, finding comfortable shoes in stores can be difficult.

That’s why Dr. Butts and our team at Performance Footcare PC specialize in custom orthotics. We work with leading orthotics companies to fit our patients with custom-cushioned shoes for their feet.

Custom orthotics are medical devices that are made just for your feet. They’re available in a variety of materials, in both full- and half-lengths. Depending on your foot condition, Dr. Butts can recommend the best type of orthotics for you.

Stop wearing shoes that hurt your feet. Get personalized suggestions and learn how to shop smart for your next pair of shoes at Performance Footcare PC. Call the office nearest you or request your first appointment online now.

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