Can New Shoes Cause Foot Injuries?

Can new shoes cause foot injuries? Yes, if the shoes do not fit properly, the person has some other pre-existing conditions, and/or there are mechanical issues, such as the number of foot strikes, while running or engaged in other physical activity.

On the whole, foot injuries are rather easy to treat and even easier to prevent. That’s good news, because if such wounds are not addressed properly, they may never entirely heal, resulting in chronic foot pain that could be lifelong and possibly irreversible.

The Link Between Footwear and Injury

Many feet and ankle injuries are wrongly classified as “overuse” injuries. After all, since both feet or ankles get the same amount of use, it stands to reason that overuse would affect both sides of the body.

Most people have two different sized feet. Typically, the difference is less than a half-size, which is not that big of a deal, unless you walk or run a lot. However, active people do walk or run a lot, and the recommended 10,000 steps a day quickly add up. If one shoe fits poorly, people often compensate by adjusting their gait, and that sets the stage for a foot injury.

Second, because feet swell during the day, shoe size varies significantly between morning and evening. Once again, the difference is very subtle. But if you move a lot, this almost imperceptible difference has a multiplying effect. As a result, many people are increasing their risk of a foot injury without even knowing it.

To combat this issue, carefully measure each foot at different points throughout the day. Take note of which foot is larger and which one is smaller at certain times. Then, add and rotate gel pads for foot support as needed. These pads not only cure the size differential issue but also provide support for feet. So, it’s important that both feet stay protected at all times. Only the insole size needs to change. Sometimes, it is possible to do this yourself simply by trimming the insole. Be sure you read the instructions before performing surgery.

Common Foot Injuries

Footwear-related injuries usually occur either when starting an exercise program or when taking things up a notch, such as dramatically increasing mileage. As mentioned earlier, these injuries are not very serious, but they are incredibly painful, so prevention is very important.

  • Plantar Fasciitis: Walking and running both put a great deal of pressure on the heel, especially if the shoe does not fit properly. Undue pressure often inflames the plantar fascia (connective tissue which runs from the toes to the heel), creating pain that’s horrible in the morning and subsides as the day goes on. That’s why it’s so important to wear insoles, to decrease that pressure and make the shoe fit better. If plantar fasciitis does strike, rest the foot and ice the area for about ten minutes a day.

  • Stress Fracture: As the name implies, excess pressure over time, as opposed to a sudden trauma injury, often creates hairline fractures in the foot or ankle bones. The pain will probably be localized near the injured area, so it should be rather easy to rest and ice the wound. But again, prevention is the best way to avoid stress fractures.

  • Heel Spurs: If the ligaments tighten, extra bone (bone spurs) form on top of the regular bone, inflaming tissue and pinching nerves. People with flat feet are especially prone to heel spurs, so be sure your insole provides plenty of cushion in this area. Stretching the ligaments should ease heel spurs; rest and ice accelerate the healing process.

Bunions, sprains, and tendonitis are some other common shoe-related injuries that are much easier to prevent than cure. Add proper-size insoles to your shoes today to help prevent foot injuries.

  • Updated January 16, 2018
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