5 Painful Problems From Unsupportive Shoes

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High heels, strappy sandals, and flip-flops can perfect your outfit, but they can also wreck your feet. Here are some of the ways unsupportive shoes cause foot problems and why you should keep them in mind next time you shop for shoes.

Summer in Fort Worth, Texas, is filled with activities: concerts, dancing, shopping, horseback riding, and floating on the river, to name a few. And they all require the right pair of shoes.

Here to make sure the pair you choose not only works with your outfit but also prevents major foot problems is Dr. Matthew Cerniglia and our team at Ankle and Foot Institute of Texas. We see the problems that stem from unsupportive shoes every day. 

Although we offer advanced treatments for whatever your shoes do to your feet, we’d much rather help you avoid the problems altogether. Here are the most common foot problems caused by ill-fitting footwear.

1. Corns, calluses, and blisters

When your shoes don’t fit well, they rub the skin on your feet repeatedly all day long. The friction eventually causes a blister to develop and fill with fluid. If the blister breaks, bacteria can enter and lead to infection. 

Over time, your skin builds up a defense against the constant rubbing. The thickened skin, called a callus or a corn, protects your skin; however, they cause pain and discomfort of their own.

Calluses usually develop on the bottom of your feet, especially on the areas that bear most of your weight — your heel, big toe, and the ball of your foot.

Corns are hard, dense areas of skin that typically form on the tops and sides of your toes, although some, called seed corns, can crop up on your soles.

2. Heel problems

Wearing shoes that don’t properly support your weight can lead to two types of heel pain.

Heel spurs

Over time, wearing unsupportive shoes causes strain on your muscles and ligaments, which may create a bony protrusion at the bottom of your heel, called a bone spur. Sometimes, bone spurs cause no symptoms at all, but you may experience pain as it rubs against the tendons and ligaments in your foot. 

Plantar fasciitis

Shoes without good support can cause inflammation of the long tendon that runs along the bottom of your foot — the plantar fascia. This causes sharp pain where the tendon attaches to your heel, and is often most intense first thing in the morning. 

3. Bunions

Unsupportive shoes may lead to the formation of bunions, which are bony bumps at the base of your big or little toe. Unlike a corn or a heel spur, this hard protrusion is actually a deformation of your joint that juts out to the side and redirects your toe inward toward the others. 

The misalignment can be painful and also lead to blisters, corns, calluses, stiffness, and immobility. 

4. Hammertoes

Choosing fashion over support can affect your toe joints and cause them to bend into an abnormal position. Rather than pointing forward and resting flat on the ground, they curl downward at the middle joint like the claw on a hammer. This condition usually affects the middle toes. 

Although traumatic injury and arthritis can cause hammertoe, shoes with very high arches, as well as tight or narrow shoes, are often to blame. 

5. Ingrown toenails

Tight and high-heeled shoes that jam your toes into a narrow box can eventually change the way your skin grows around your toenails. The edges of your toenails push under the surface of your skin and gradually grow downward into your flesh.

Wearing shoes that give your toes some wiggle room and cutting your nails straight across and not too short can help you avoid an ingrown nail. 

How we treat shoe-related foot problems

The first step in treating your foot problems is to start wearing supportive shoes. Dr. Cerniglia can help you understand the best type and fit for your feet and tell you what to look for in a supportive shoe.

If you’ve already developed one of these shoe-related foot problems, we can help with that, too. Bunions may require special pads, supportive taping, and pain medication or injections.

If you have painful calluses and corns, we may recommend removal — something you should never try at home. Hammertoe often resolves on its own with the right footwear, but a severe case may require surgical intervention to fuse the joint. 

If you have a blister that won’t heal or a chronic case of plantar fasciitis, we can get rid of your pain and restore your mobility.

To ensure all your shoes give you the proper support, Dr. Cerniglia may recommend custom orthotics that slip inside your favorite shoes and transform them from the inside. 

Find out which type of shoe you need to help you avoid these common foot problems. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Cerniglia today by calling our friendly staff or booking online.