How Your Shoes May Be Hurting Your Feet | Whittier, CA | PIH Health

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Published on April 25, 2022

How Your Shoes May Be Hurting Your Feet

Photo of a woman removing her red high heel shoesEver get home and kick off your shoes, only to find that your feet are red, swollen and achy? Maybe it’s because you’ve been on your feet all day. Or it could be your shoes that are causing the problem. 

Here are some signs that your shoes are causing more harm than good:

  • Wrong Size: “Wearing properly-sized shoes is one of the most important things you can do for your feet,” says Ken Nguyen DPM, podiatrist for PIH Health. “Something many people overlook is the fact that your foot size can change throughout your lifetime. This can be caused by long-term changes, such as weight fluctuations and medical conditions, or even something as immediate as the time of day or exercise.” Dr. Nguyen explains: “Your feet can swell as the day goes on, so you should try on shoes later in the day when your feet are at their largest before you buy a new pair. Similarly, if you’re shopping for a new pair of running shoes, consider going up at least half a size to compensate for foot swelling while exercising.”
  • Worn Out: Wearing shoes past their “expiration date” may cause foot pain from plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, stress fractures and shin splints. This is because the padding and support wear thin. Depending on your activity level and how they’re constructed, consider replacing shoes after 6 to 12 months of wear.
  • Going Barefoot: Podiatrists are seeing an increase in foot issues due to people ditching their shoes as they work from home. Standing and walking barefoot on hard floors puts undue stress on your feet and ankles, causing inflammation and pain. Flip flops aren’t much better because they don’t provide arch support or shock absorption. Instead, wear a supportive pair of slippers or slip-on shoes with memory foam inserts.
  • Wrong Footwear: Do you wear flip flops when you take the dog for a walk? High heels to grocery shop after work? Wearing the wrong footwear for the task may cause more damage to your feet than you realize. If you’re heading out the door for more than a few minutes, make sure you’re wearing shoes with good support. Need to wear those heels for an important meeting? Bring flats to change into afterwards. Your feet will thank you later!
  • Fashion Failure: High heels shift your weight forward to the balls of your feet, putting too much pressure on muscles and joints. If you still want to wear heels, look for ones with rounded toe boxes and a block heel or wedge that’s less than two inches high. To stay fashion forward, don’t discount the strappy sandal. There are many brands that offer cute but supportive styles.

Although shoes are an important part of foot care, it is also important to remember that shoes are not the only culprit to many foot problems. Issues like ulcers, heel pain, tendinitis, stress fractures, bunions, hammertoes, spurs and arthritis are all reasons to get an evaluation from a podiatrist. To learn about podiatry services at PIH Health, visit


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