Heel pain can be many things, but it usually isn’t simple. Although the symptoms may be broadly similar, there are dozens of potential conditions and causes, from congenital defects and connective tissue injuries to broken bones, pinched nerves, and more. That said, there are a few common components in many types of heel pain, and one of them is footwear.
Sometimes, bad shoes are enough to cause heel pain all on their own. If they’re too tight (or too lose), don’t give you enough cushioning or support, or push too much weight and force into the wrong spot, they can do a lot of damage even for a foot that’s otherwise in great shape. In other cases, the real problem may be with a structural imbalance in your foot itself—the shoes don’t cause the pain so much as they make it worse.
Unfortunately, many popular styles can pose problems:
- High heels are strongly linked to all kinds of foot pain problems, including heel pain. Even though heels throw your weight onto the front of the feet, they also put your arches in an unnatural position and cause them to tug on heels.
- Flats can be just as bad. They usually don’t give you the arch support or the cushioning you need to protect your heels.
- Sandals, especially flip flops, are often problematic for the same reason. Flip flops cause extra stress because their floppy nature forces you to actually change the way you walk in them. You can find sandals with good cushioning and arch support, however, if you make it a priority.
- Pumps and other hard-backed footwear (like skates or some boots) often irritate the back of the heel, near where the Achilles tendon begins. In the worst cases, this can lead to developing a bony deformity.
Of course, even if the shoe is perfectly good in theory, that doesn’t mean it’s the right shoe for you. If your shoes don’t fit you correctly (“I’m not going to avoid these cute shoes just because it’s the wrong size!”), you’re probably going to have a bad time. The same is true when you wear the right shoes for the wrong activity. A comfortable pair of casual dress shoes? Probably not the right choice for basketball. All-purpose athletic shoes? They’re probably great for everyday activities and some light exercise, but will prove inadequate for serious running.
If your feet are causing you pain and difficult in everyday life and activities, make time to see Family Foot Care & Surgery in either Milford or Hamden. We’ll help you assess the underlying causes of your discomfort and provide the appropriate treatment remedies. If shoes are part of the problem, we’ll help you make better choices about what to wear, too! To schedule your appointment, give us a call today at (203) 876-7736.