With 26 bones and 33 joints – all of which must work together to support your body weight and help you move around – the foot is easily the most complex part of your skeletal system. Unfortunately, that complexity brings with it a lot of potential for problems or foot pain. We’re talking about plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammer toes, shin splints and tendinitis.
But the good news is that, for most people, foot pain can be traced back to their shoes: if the shoes aren’t directly causing the issue, then they are probably making existing issues worse. The best shoes for foot pain are ones that are engineered to work with the foot and support its natural biomechanics.
Let’s look at how shoes can help alleviate or prevent some common causes of foot pain:
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the broad band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom surface of the foot, commonly referred to as the arch. When the foot doesn’t have the proper amount of arch support or if the foot overpronates, the plantar fascia can stretch and strain, leading to pain.
The best way to prevent this painful condition is to make sure your shoes have the proper amount of arch support and are designed to accommodate your amount of pronation. We recommend a pair of X-Last shoes for those with moderate to excessive overpronation or a pair of V-Last shoes for mild to moderate overpronation. You may also benefit from a pair of our orthotic inserts.
Bunions, a prominent bump that can develop on the big toe joint, are a common, yet potentially painful foot condition that can develop as we age. There is debate about whether shoes play a role in the formation of bunions – some say a tight toe box can cause them to form – but one thing is certain: shoes can play a big role in how they feel.
For starters, a shoe with a high, wide toe box will give the bunion plenty of room and will help alleviate pain caused by the shoe being pulled tight across the top. Fortunately, all Apex footwear is designed with a high and wide toe box, along with removable depth to provide bunions with ample room.
Finally, if the level of deformity with the bunion is isn’t sever, a Bunion Night Splint can be used to help realign the big toe.
Hammer toes result from a muscle imbalance which causes the ligaments and tendons to become unnaturally tight. This results in the joint curling downward and the tops of the toes sticking up higher than the rest of the forefoot, leading to friction with the top of the shoe.
Much like bunions, the best shoes for hammer toes are ones that have a high and wide toe box, along with removable depth to accommodate the toes. As we mentioned previously, all Apex footwear offers these features for flexibility.
Unlike bunions and hammer toes, shin splints are almost always a direct result of footwear choice. Though this painful condition develops when leg muscles are stressed from high-impact activities, it’s important to understand that it’s not the activity itself that’s causes it – it’s when the activity is combined with unsupportive, worn out, or inadequate footwear. Even shoes that are specifically designed to support physical activity can cause shin splints if they are worn out and need to be replaced.
To help prevent shin splints, we recommend shoes that are purpose-built for supporting the foot during high levels of activity. You should also make sure that your shoes have been designed to work with your specific gait.