6 worst shoes you can walk in for plantar fasciitis - Be My Healer

6 worst shoes you can walk in for plantar fasciitis

shoes on string worst shoes for plantar fasciitis

I have horrible fashion sense, especially when it comes to shoes. This disability has made my "footwear conversation" with a few patients very awkward. I admit that most feet-friendly shoes are not fit to walk down the runway.

However, a sensible style genius such as yourself will have no problem as long as you steer clear from these 6 no-no types of shoes.

#1: No shoes

barefeet no shoes

For some runners, strong musculoskeletal structure allow them to reach optimum performance while running barefoot, or with minimalist shoes.

However, if you are already experiencing heel pain, you will most likely not do well walking on hard surfaces with your bare feet. With every step you take, your heel would strike the hard floor with significant body weight and no buffer to cushion the impact.

​The lack of cushion and support may force too much stress on your plantar fascia and worsen your heel pain.

​If your living quarters are covered with hard surfaces such as tiles, wood or concrete, consider investing in a indoor footwear.

​#2: Ballet flats

ballet flats

​These cute little lightweight slip-on shoes have been in and out of style for decades. They make extremely good spare comfort shoes to keep in your bag or purse for those days that you have show up in your stilettos.

However, as long term walking shoes, they make a very weak choice, especially for those people with plantar fasciitis. Flats offer very little arch support.

Walking in them is not too much different from walking on cardboard. While your entire body weight is pressing down on your arch, the ligaments and fascias are the only tissues holding your foot structure in place. It is not surprising to experience worsening of foot pain

If flats are your fashion statement, you can consider investing in some nice orthotics with arch support and heel cushions to prevent plantar fasciitis flare-ups.

#3: Flip flops

flip flops bad for plantar fasciitis

Flip-flops are not good walking footwears for many reasons. Not only do they offer no heel stability, no heel cushion, and no arch support, wearing flip-flops over time can change the way you walk and how your feet function.

You could find yourself walking with smaller strides and scrunched-up toes as a habit to hang on to the footwear. This developed walking habit will cause your calf muscles to weaken, leading to numerous ankle and foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis pain. [Recommended reading:Flip-flops: The most dangerous shoes your can wear?]

While strolling along the beach, you should choose a pair of sporty flip-flops with thicker soles and contour for arch support. That way, your romantic evening will not be interrupted by good-old heel pain.

#4: Old wornout shoes

worn out shoes bad for plantar fasciitis

I made this mistake before. Call me cheap but I would sooner spend a hundred dollars on a concert ticket than buy a pair of new kicks when I'm already wearing a pair of perfectly comfortable shoes. That pair of sneakers was my only walking footwear for 4 years. 

"So what do you think is causing your knee pain?" my professor from physical therapy school asked me with a smirk on his face when I complained about my knee problem.

He took off my shoes and flipped it over. The bottoms of my shoes were neatly wedged with nearly no material left on the outer edge. Then he took out the insole and flipped out the heel counter. The insole was thinner than paper in numerous spots and the back of the heel was completely broken and loose. Turns out, I was walking on a slanted surface in that pair of old shoes for months and years (Hey, I was a fixer-upper nerd.)

Old worn out shoes not only lose their positive features to stabilize and protect your feet, after prolonged reshaping, they are capable of magnifying your ankle and foot rotations. Walking in them not only puts you at higher risk for foot problems like plantar fasciitis, you may also experience aches and pain in your knees, hips and even lower back.

According to past President of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine Dr. Priput, most running shoes last for between 250 miles and 500 miles of running. Walking shoes should likely be changes every 6 to 9 months.

Do you have some long time favorites that you need to let go?

​#5: Brand New Shoes

new shoes bad for plantar fasciitis

Life is hard. 

You just said farewell to your favorite old shoes and slipped on your brand new pair of "these-have-everything" shoes​. Heel cushions, arch supports, firm heel counters, rocker soles, you name it. Half way through your day, your feet are so uncomfortable that you can't focus at all.

Brand new shoes, no matter how well designed, are rigid and stiff. Your feet need time to adjust to the new contour and support. 

Feet irritation and worsening of plantar fasciitis pain is a common concern for people who invested in new shoes, inserts and orthotics.

This issue may be address by breaking into the new footwear slowly. You can start by wearing the new shoes and orthotics for a short walk, then a shopping trip, and gradually increase the length of time and intensity of activity towards your usual needs.

#6: High heels

high heels bad for plantar faciitis

What a surprise!

Most people suffering from plantar fasciitis have ankles that tends to roll inwards if not supported. Ankles that roll inwards, or over-pronation,  place significant stress on the calf muscles and intrinsic foot ligaments such as the plantar fascia. These ankles desperately need external support from footwear. And high heels happen to be the opposite of support and stability.

However, not all heels are bad. Some heels are actually beneficial to plantar fasciitis conditions. A small heel lift around 1 to 1.5 inches with good heel cushion and arch support helps to transfer weight and stress away from the heel, providing pain relief.

Above are some poor choices for footwear when you already experience plantar fasciitis pain. Everyone is built differently and there are plenty of people who can rock these types of footwear for decades with no ache or pain. Thus, make your investment choices based on your own body's needs.

In addition to footwear choices, a more proactive way to improve your plantar fasciitis pain is to stretch and strengthen your calves and intrinsic foot muscles. Ankle over-pronation can be genetic. But most people's ankles became this way through repetitive ankle injuries, muscle weakness or weight gain. You can regain and rebuild a portion of your arch and ankle support through targeted strengthening.


Thank you for reading, and I hope you find this post helpful.

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