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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Foot Problems: Finding the Right Shoes
Footwear plays a large role in the
development of foot and toe problems such as
calluses and corns, and
hammer, claw, and mallet toes. Shoes that don't fit
properly make these conditions worse and more painful. But wearing the right shoes may help keep foot problems from becoming worse.
calluses, corns, and hammer, claw, and mallet toes are some common foot
problems that develop over time. These problems can range from uncomfortable to
painful. In severe cases, they can make it hard to wear shoes at
See pictures of a
hammer, claw, and mallet toes; a
callus; and a
Are all foot problems painful?
Not all foot problems are painful, but they can
become painful over time. If you don't have any pain but your foot or toe seems
to be growing more malformed, ask your doctor to look at it during
a routine medical visit.
Continue to Why?
Shoes that fit
properly are key to both preventing and treating foot problems. You can develop
a bunion, callus or corn, or hammer, claw, or mallet toe for a number of
reasons, such as joint disease, genetic predisposition, or stroke. But your
footwear can play a large part in how bad your foot condition becomes.
If you have surgery for a foot problem, wearing shoes that fit properly
will reduce your chances that the foot problem may come back (recur).
After my foot problem is surgically corrected, I can
feel free to wear any kind of shoe.
Although you may be able to wear footwear such
as high-heeled or narrow shoes without pain after foot surgery, wearing these
kinds of shoes increases your risk of having your foot problem recur.
Continue to How?
For some people, the
only acceptable option is a sandal or athletic shoe that doesn't rub on an
existing bunion, callus or corn, or hammer, claw, or mallet toe. You may also be able to have a cobbler make changes to your shoes to make them more comfortable. But most
people will be able to find a shoe that causes little or no pain and allows
them to function.
Before shopping for new footwear, ask your foot doctor for recommendations specific to your needs.
the following when shopping for footwear:
When shopping for the right fit, look for:
High-heeled shoes with room for the toes are a good
choice for problem feet.
Making room for the toes is important, but high
heels can cause serious foot problems by shifting your body weight onto your
toes. For women who are required to dress for work in elevated heels, some
shoemakers offer fashionable yet more comfortable alternatives. Look for low
heels, good support for the ball and heel of the foot, and plenty of room for
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read this
information, you are ready to find the best shoe fit for your particular foot
If you would like more information on footwear, bunions,
hammer toes, or other related foot problems, the following resources are
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
provides information and education to raise the public's awareness of
musculoskeletal conditions, with an emphasis on preventive measures. The AAOS
website contains information on orthopedic conditions and treatments, injury
prevention, and wellness and exercise.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons provides
information on surgery and shoe selection as well as the care and treatment of
heel, toe, ankle, nerve, tendon, nail, and skin conditions. You can also look up and learn about sports injuries, diabetic foot problems, arthritis, and resources in your local area.
The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS)
provides information on a variety of topics, including foot care for adults,
children, and people who have diabetes; proper shoe fit; and how to select
children's shoes and sports shoes. Some information is available in several
languages besides English.
The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)
provides information about foot and ankle injuries, sports-related foot
concerns, surgical and nonsurgical treatment of foot problems, special medical
issues such as diabetes, and resources in your local area. Some information is
available in Spanish.
Return to topic:
February 24, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Gavin W.G. Chalmers, DPM - Podiatry and Podiatric Surgery
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