Photo credit: iStockphoto/T. Popova

Photo credit: iStockphoto/T. Popova

Are your shoes squeezing your toes? Or, maybe they’re rubbing against your heels. If this is the case, you’re likely wearing shoes that are too small (not to say that shoes that are too big, don’t cause foot problems, too).

As the WalkEZStore has discussed in recent articles, our feet are growing in size, but women and men are still buying shoes that don’t fit correctly. When you wear shoes that are too small for your feet, you’ll likely suffer from foot pain – and in some cases, you may actually cause permanent foot deformities.

Tight shoes that have a narrow toe box – the front portion of the shoe in which your toes nestle – or a snug heel can cause foot pain and problems like:

  • Blisters – When your shoes rub against your skin, a blister, which is a painful pocket of fluid, can form within the upper layers of the skin.
  • Corns and calluses – When your shoes repeatedly rub or press against your skin, your skin can thicken, causing flat, yellowish calluses. Or, this action can make your skin to thicken and harden, resulting in round, kernel-like bumps called corns.
  • Bunions – A shoe with a narrow toe box can cause your big toe to be pushed in toward the other toes, while the base of your toe is pushed out of its normal position. This action can produce a painful, inflamed bump called a bunion at the base of your big toe on the side of your foot.
  • Hammertoes – When your shoe is too short for your foot, it can cramp your toes, causing them to curl up, instead of laying flat. Your toes will have a claw-like appearance known as hammertoe.
  • Crossover toe – A shoe that’s too tight can create constant pressure that leads to the second or third toe crossing over the toe next to it.
  • Ingrown toenail – When your toenail is cut too short, it can rub against the surface of a shoe that’s too tight. This abnormal pressure causes the edges of your toenail to grow into the surrounding skin, lending to inflammation and pain. You may even develop an infection.
  • Heel pain – Too tight shoes can trigger pressure against your heels, leading to pain at the front, back or bottom of the heel.
  • Fat pad atrophy – Ill-fitting shoes can cause the fat pads on the bottom of your feet to thin more quickly, which decreases your feet’s ability to absorb shock when walking and running. You’ll then experience pain in the balls of your feet when you walk or stand.

Properly Fit Your Shoes to Prevent Foot Pain

If you want to prevent painful foot conditions from occurring, you need to correctly fit your shoes to your specific feet.

  1. Have your feet measured by a trained professional at least once a year with a Brannock measuring device, which measures your correct toe length (the length of your foot from your heel to your longest toe), arch length (the measurement from your heel to the first metatarsal joint) of your foot) and foot width (the width across the ball of your foot from the first to the fifth metatarsal joints).
  2. Photo credit: iStockphoto/LisaFX Photographic Designs

    Photo credit: iStockphoto/LisaFX Photographic Designs

    Wear socks that you’ll wear with your shoes when you have your feet measured and when trying on shoes.

  3. Measure both feet.  Choose shoes in your larger foot size. The shoe for your smaller foot can be altered so it will fit properly.
  4. Select shoes based on your arch length. When your shoes fit correctly, the arch of the shoe and the ball joint of your foot will be aligned. Refer to the WalkEZStore’s Shoe Fitting Guide for more information.
  5. Fit your shoes to the shape of your foot. If your feet are slender and tapered, choose shoes with a tapered toe box. If your feet are broader, pick shoes with a square toe box.
  6. Try on shoes later in the day when your feet are at their widest.
  7. Try on both shoes. Don’t rely on the sizes marked on the box or inside the shoe, since shoe sizes can vary by manufacturer, brand, and style.
  8. Leave toe space. There should be 1/2” of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. You should be able to wiggle your toes in the shoes.
  9. Walk in both shoes to make sure they fit and feel comfortable. If the shoe slides or slips, it’s not fitting correctly.
  10. Don’t buy shoes that are too tight. They probably won’t stretch to fit your feet later.
  11. Look at the shoelaces to determine proper fit. There should be 1 inch of space between the laces. If there’s less than an inch, the shoes are too wide. If there’s more than an inch, the shoes are too tight.
  12. Purchase and wear ezWalker® Performance Custom Orthotics if you suffer from foot problems. When you wear correctly fitted shoes with these custom arch supports, the three arches of your feet will be properly supported, and you’ll experience better biomechanical alignment from your feet up. Each step you take will be controlled throughout the gait cycle, reducing the stress and strain on your feet, so you’ll experience pain relief.

Visit the WalkEZStore to learn how ezWalker® Performance Custom Orthotics can improve your foot mechanics and reduce painful foot conditions brought on by wearing shoes that are too tight. Click here to order your ezWalker® custom orthotics today!

Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®