In a recent blog, we discussed some tips for helping to take the edge off of heel pain at home. Here is an additional tip that you might find a bit surprising:
Wear your shoes at home!
It’s an option your mother might have made you fear ever even thinking about, but it can make sense for some people when you give it a little thought.
If you have previously spent most of your days at work—wearing proper, healthy footwear—your feet were benefiting from the support those shoes were providing. If you have been spending most of your time now out of those shoes, that support has been lacking, and it could be having an effect on your foot comfort.
Wearing proper footwear in the house more often may help your symptoms, as can wearing proper footwear any other part of your day. (Just make sure to clean them before going back in!)
Now, all that said, switching to good shoes will not always eliminate a problem. There are often still underlying issues in your feet, such as abnormalities in foot structure or excess strain, that need further attention for better results.
Any foot or heel pain that persists, regardless of whether it feels better or worse over time, is something you should absolutely call us about. Our offices remain open and happy to see you for any foot and ankle concerns you may have—and we continue to take precautions to provide as safe and low-risk of an office environment as possible for both our patients and our staff. Do not hesitate to ask us any questions about what we are doing.
Regardless of the circumstances, however, it always pays to have a supportive pair of shoes—even if it might sometimes be a little more difficult to shop for them now.
What to Look for in Any Shoe
It is always important to be able to test and try a shoe before purchasing it, if possible. Online shoe shopping is not the most ideal option out there, but it’s popular and an awfully convenient when other options aren’t readily available—such as in recent months.
If you do shop online, aim for an outlet that has a good return policy. That way, if the shoes you order don’t live up to expectations, you can easily send them back without much hassle.
Here are some elements to test when looking for a supportive, comfortable shoe—especially when heel pain is in the picture:
- A small amount of twist. Hold a shoe at both ends and try to twist it. The shoe should give a little, but should not be so flimsy as to make twisting an easy task. If it doesn’t give at all, the shoe might be too rigid.
- A firm heel counter. The heel counter is the very back of the shoe that comes up around and behind your heel. Test its firmness by trying to press in on the very back of your shoe with your fingers. A good firmness will make this a challenge, while poor support will collapse without much effort.
- Extra rigidness in the sole and cushioning in the midfoot. If you have heel pain, then a shoe with a thick midsole and a cushioned midfoot region will reduce impacts on the heel. A “rocker bottom” can also be a great fit for someone with plantar fasciitis and other types of heel pain issues.
- A comfortable toe box. A toe box should wide and long enough for toes to rest comfortably without being scrunched together or pressed against the front or sides of the shoe. There should be about a half-inch of space between the front of your longest toe and the front of the shoe. A toe box that is too tight can not only cause problems at the front of your foot, but affect your gait in such a way as to contribute to problems with heel pain and other areas.
The best time to try on shoes—whether at a store or received through the mail—is in the afternoon and evening, when feet tend to be the largest due to moderate swelling.
Take some time to walk in a shoe before making a decision—the more time you can get, the better. Make sure the heel does not slip around and that every part of the shoe feels comfortable. If you feel that a shoe needs to be “broken in” before it becomes comfortable enough, then it is not a shoe you should be wearing.
Get Extra Help for Your Heel Pain
Wearing optimal footwear is a great step toward improving your overall foot comfort and health, but many cases need a more in-depth evaluation and professional treatment. No standard pair of shoes, for example, will be provide the precise corrective support and cushioning that a pair of custom orthotic inserts can. That or other forms of therapy may be what your condition needs to be fully eradicated from your daily life.
We are more than happy to see you and get to the roots of your pain and discomfort. Call either of our El Paso offices below to schedule an appointment, or complete our online contact form to have a member of our staff reach out to you during our standard office hours.
- Sierra Tower Building – (915) 533-5151
- George Dieter Drive – (915) 856-3331