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  • Writer's pictureRobin R Varghese, PT.

"Footwear and Foot pain". Have you ever doubted your footwear to be the cause of your foot pain?

  • Does footwear purchase have an association with foot pain? What choices determined a purchase decision? Having the same questions in your mind?

  • Although originally worn as a protective covering for the foot, modern footwear is designed to fulfil a range of purposes.

  • Footwear fitting is acknowledged as being vitally important as in most cases fit governs function.

  • It has been suggested that incorrectly fitted footwear is a major contributor to the development of structural foot disorders, such as hallux valgus and lesser toe deformity, as well as skin lesions, such as corns and calluses.

  • In this post we bring to you various studies that might help you understand the way footwear can affect our foot.


  • Study highlighted a high prevalence of structural foot pathology for those over 61 who preferred slip on shoes. This group also wore shoes that were significantly narrower than their feet with width difference correlating to the presence of Hallux Abductovarus (HAV). This study emphasizes that the width of the shoe is an important part of fit. Footwear assessment in clinical environments should consider the width of the shoe with greater scrutiny when explaining the relationship between ill-fitting footwear choice and foot pathology.

  • There are evidences that incorrect footwear fitting was associated with foot pain and foot disorders such as lesser toe deformity, corns and calluses. A large proportion of the population wear incorrectly sized footwear, which is associated with foot pain and foot disorders. Greater emphasis should be placed on both footwear fitting education and the provision of an appropriately large selection of shoes that can accommodate the variation in foot morphology among the population, particularly in relation to foot width.

  • Study suggested that appropriately sized footwear should have a space of at least 10–20 mm between the end of the foot and the shoe.

  • Studies reported a strong association between tight footwear and foot pain,

  • There was also evidence that loose footwear was associated with foot pain

  • Ill-fitting shoes displayed significantly poorer overall foot health using the Foot Health Status Questionnaire.

  • One study reported that incorrectly fitted footwear was significantly associated with the presence of pain in the ankle in women.

  • Study shows that those with foot deformities such as hallux valgus displayed a greater discrepancy between footwear and foot width, however no information was provided as to whether this difference was significant.

  • Various studies have found that either ill-fitting footwear alone or minor trauma caused by footwear is the most common precipitating factor in the development of diabetic foot ulcers

  • It was identified in a study of 208 mining workers that the boots worn by miners (both lace-up boots and gum boots) were significantly narrower than the foot but also significantly longer than the recommended 10–20 mm clearance . This in turn may contribute to the high prevalence of foot pain reported in this population

  • Women are more likely to suffer foot pain compared to men. Furthermore, females suffer more foot pain while wearing shoes compared to men, most likely due to the narrower toe box of women’s shoes.

  • Footwear plays an important role in causing plantar fasciitis as the majority of the diagnosed cases wear inappropriate shoes with minimal heel height, thin sole, and hard insole without any built-in arch support.

  • There is a significant association between the intensity of pain with heel size as people who wear shoes with minimal heel height experience more severe pain. Heel height also had an influence on the pain associated with long-standing hours. Similarly, shoes with thin soles cause more intense pain.

  • The study has shown that more than half of the participants experienced foot pain who chose the hard sole chappal, regular shoes, flat sandals, pointed mojdi and soft sole flip flops Along with it mostly the house hold activities get compromise due to foot pain in participants.

A limitation of the literature is that there are variations between studies in the way that footwear fitting is measured and defined. Hence, future work should adopt standardised approaches to assessing footwear fitting.

What Next???

  • Overall, the high prevalence of incorrectly fitted footwear suggests that greater emphasis should be placed on footwear fitting education so people are more aware of their foot dimensions and appropriate foot size.

  • Furthermore, footwear manufacturers should provide an appropriately large selection of shoes that can accommodate the variations in foot morphology among the population.

  • A greater range of widths for each length sizing option should be made available in order to accommodate feet with wider dimensions.

At Valley Healing hands, Brownsville, Texas, we provide the best physical therapy treatment for foot pain. We have highly skilled physical therapists who will assess you and come to the right diagnosis about the reason for your foot pain and provide you with the utmost care in relieving your foot pain. Our patients are more than satisfied with out services. You may learn about it here and get connected to us here. Our patients love us. You too will!!!


1. Footwear choices for painful feet – an observational study exploring footwear and foot problems in women Moira McRitchie, Helen Branthwaite, and Nachiappan Chockalingam, J Foot Ankle Res. 2018; 11: 23, PMC5984451

2. Incorrectly fitted footwear, foot pain and foot disorders: a systematic search and narrative review of the literature Andrew K. Buldt & Hylton B. Menz ,Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, volume 11, Article number: 43 (2018)

3. Impact of routine footwear on foot health: A study on plantar fasciitis

Umar, Haddaya1,; Idrees, Wajeeha1; Umar, Wardah2; Khalil, Anish3; Rizvi, Zuhair, Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care 11(7):p 3851-3855, July 2022.

4. Frequency of foot pain and its interrelation with footwear among female participants in Surat district, International journal of developmental research, Dr. Muhammad Nauman Kazi, Dr. Dharam Chand Jain, Dr. T. Ramaligam, Dhruva Taneja and Manisha Saharan, 30 August, 2022, Volume 12, Article ID: 25161

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