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Martin Foot & Ankle

Shoes to Avoid with Heel Pain

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Footwear makes a statement. Many shoes are activity-specific, like hiking boots or soccer cleats. Others are meant for fashion or to match with office attire, like ballet flats, high heels, and loafers. Still others are more relaxed, like sandals or flip-flops. Each style gives a hint about you and what you expect you’ll be doing. However, not every type of shoe is good for your feet—and some are particularly bad when you have heel pain. Your footwear can contribute to and exacerbate painful heel problems.

Shoes are supposed to support your lower limbs and help you absorb hard impacts safely. Footwear that fits badly, doesn’t support your arch, or contributes to poor biomechanics stresses your lower limbs. If you already have heel pain, stress from your footwear can make it much worse. Here are a few shoe styles you really should avoid altogether when you have painful heels:

  • Flip-flops – These sandals have absolutely no support for your feet. Furthermore, they tend to be made of cheap materials that don’t protect you well from the ground when you walk.
  • Ballet flats – Like flip-flops, these shoes have no support or cushioning through the sole. They don’t protect your feet well and actually allow for greater overpronation.
  • Stilettos – Heels that are higher than a couple inches stress your Achilles tendon. In fact, wearing these too often could actually cause it to shorten.
  • Stiff platforms – Platform shoes may seem better than normal high heels, but when the sole doesn’t bend, it prevents normal foot movement.
  • Worn out pairs – Shoes wear down where your feet put the most pressure, so they lose support in those areas first. Continuing to wear old pairs simply exacerbates any biomechanical problems you may have.

Instead of these, look for styles that have padded insoles, low heels, appropriate support for your arch type, and plenty of life left in them. Your feet will thank you in the long run.

If you’re not sure how to find or fit shoes properly, let our team at Martin Foot and Ankle know. We’re happy to help. Also, if you’re struggling with heel pain, you may need more care than just changing footwear. Make an appointment at our Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz and York, PA, offices by calling (717) 757-3537 to reach us.
Dr. Bronwyn Wilke
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