Proper footwear is essential when exercising and even just walking throughout the day as you do your daily activities. Today many shoes are made to look cool and flashy, but they are unfortunately making foot function worse. There are numerous shoes with anti-pronation devices, arch supports, ankle supports, and motion control devices & stabilizers. These are often causing problems in a lot of people, and they most likely don’t even know it. Take, for example, the hype behind the anti-[over]pronation shoes. Pronation is a necessary motion and function of the foot. It is supposed to happen — it is a major way you absorb shock when walking or running. However, many people are being told they overpronate or they think they overpronate so they wear these anti-pronation shoes and problems occur – foot, knee, hip, or back aches – all from the shoe they were advised to wear. Sure some people do overpronate, but it’s because of muscle imbalances in the lower leg and foot, not because they’re wearing the wrong shoe. Even worse, many people wear orthotics – casts of their feet that are supporting their gait dysfunction and imbalances which only support their problem and eventually cause other problems throughout the body. There’s a lot of hype behind orthotics. Many physicians, therapists, and salespersons who make and sell them think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, I’m not a big fan of bread, I’m not a big fan of orthotics. (I’m kidding about the analogy part; I like bread a lot more and it tastes better anyway.) Orthotic supporters (no pun intended) claim that the inserts will fix every structural pain from your head to your toe. The majority of these people make what I’ll refer to as a pathological orthotic, as they are making a cast (mold) of your foot in its current incorrect position. Since you wouldn’t want a broken arm put in a cast without setting the bone, you don’t want a cast of your foot made without making sure that the muscles are balanced and the bones are in the right place. Making a cast of your foot without addressing the issues of the foot isn’t fixing anything – it’s just going to support a problem you already have. Your pain may go away, but a new one will pop up later, perhaps somewhere else in your body. The goal is to figure out why the muscles and bones of the foot (as well as everything affecting the foot) are not functioning properly so the problem at hand (or is it foot?) can be resolved. Since you have to walk, an injured muscle may need to be supported as it heals temporarily…and this is where orthotics become very valuable for a slight few people – when they are used to help hold a correction in its place so function may be restored. However, as I write this, now into my 13th year in practice, I have never once needed to have a patient go and get an orthotic made to help stabilize or correct their foot. Maybe that will change tomorrow.Foot muscles and lower leg muscles which play a major part in the gait of an individual are very responsive to stress in the body. Abnormal stress from thick-heeled, over-supportive shoes, and those wearing orthotics, further weaken the foot and lead to problems. Dietary stress from a poor diet (refined carbs, processed fats), emotional stress, and physical stress from other injuries as well as excessive exercise also lead to lower leg and foot problems.I estimate that 90% of the time I need a patient to stop wearing their orthotics that were made for them by another physician because they are either causing a disturbance in their gait (the way you walk) or creating a foot dysfunction. About 10% of the time I’d say the orthotic is neither helping them nor hurting them. If you were told that there was very little chance of success with any treatment, you probably wouldn’t go and pay $250-$400 for it. Healthy People are Barefoot People!
- Wear shoes that keep your feet close to the ground, are “low to zero-drop,” don’t have a lot of support, and aren’t too rigid (stiff).
- Remember, your orthotic is most likely supporting dysfunction.
A whole lot more on orthotics over at my Sock Doc site – click here.
And still even more about proper/improper footwear here by Sock Doc – here.
Read more about proper footwear selection by Dr. Mark Cucuzzella here. The article is for both kids and adults. Also, Barefoot Science has some good information and research related to the dangers of orthotics and “shod” footwear. Click here.
Teresa Jeffries says
My daughter is a new nurse working 12 hour shifts, on her feet the whole time. She already has a knee issue from gymnastics that will require 4 months of intense physical therapy..which she hasn’t been able to do due to being a full time nursing student and working. My question is what is the best shoe for her to wear for work. When she gets off now her legs, feet, back, knees everything is hurting! Thank you.
Nursing shifts are definitely tough on the body. If she’s already having knee issues then there is most likely a lot more that needs to be addressed than just footwear. I feel that no matter how long a person is standing on their feet, and no matter what the surface is (concrete, tile, carpet), one’s feet, knees, etc. should not hurt. She needs to definitely keep her feet strong, or strengthen them if they are not yet, and this can be somewhat accomplished by going barefoot (at home) and in minimalist type shoes as often as possible. If this hurts her now, she may have to transition to them. – so say a few hours in them a day and then more and more each week. The Nike Free and New Balance Minimus might be a good shoe for her to wear, if they work for her feet and the style is appropriate. Also check out Two Rivers Treads here – they may have other suggestions.
What are your thoughts about shoes such as the Vibram and the Fila five/four toe shoes? Would you also recommend these? What are some things a person should keep in mind if considering these five finger shoes?
Check out this article. http://sock-doc.com/2012/03/healthy-people-barefoot-people/
VFF are definitely fine if they work for you; there are many options out there. I have not had any experience with the Fila version.
Hello. Please do you have any advice on barefoot shoes for hiking and trail walking? I wear barefoot shoes for my daily pavement workout walks, but now that the weather is better I would like to go off road. I’ve just bought an horrendously expensive pair of hiking boots and although the manufacturers claim that one could jog in them, I’d be more inclined to try in a pair of diving boots.
All the ramblers I know advocate sturdy soles and lots of ankle support, but I feel more ‘balanced’ on uneven terrain when I can sense the ground beneath my feet. I would be grateful to hear your opinion. Thank you :)
VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho. Check out my review here: .
The Neo Trail is great too.
Thank you :)
HEY DOC. HOW ARE YOU.I HAVE BEEN A FIREMAN FOR 30YRS ALSO I,VE BEEN PLAYING GOLF FOR 7YRS AND I HAVE JUST STARTED WITH SYMPTOMS OF PLANTAR FASCIITIS.I,VE BEEN DOING YOUR RECOMMENDED EXERCISES THEY ARE VERY HELPFUL ANY ADVICE ON THE SHOES TO BUY FOR BOTH ACTIVITIES.THX KEEP UP THE GOOD WK YOU DO
Thanks James. Check out the Vivobarefoot shoe reviews I have at the Sock Doc site (sock-doc.com).
Diane P says
Hi Sock doc, I have plantar fasciitis I am what you would classify as obese. Is it okay for me to walk barefoot? Wouldn’t
walking around barefoot be to much strain on my ankles and feet. Sorry doc just want to be sure. Thank you
Definitely not. Though your obesity may not help, it’s not the reason for the foot pain. Check out the plantar fasciitis video on the sock doc site. http://sock-doc.com/2011/03/205/
Joel Wright says
I have listened to all your podcasts on TrailRunner Nation, and I am a huge fan of yours. I love to run the dirt trails behind my house, which have a lot of uphills and downhills. But I’ve had a lot of knee pain lately, and two different ortho’s have told me my I overpronate, and need to get either orthotics, or shoes that stop my overpronation, because the xray’s show my knees caving in, which is likely causing the pain. I’ve been running on the trails mostly in the Saucony Peregrine, or Altra Instinct, which both have very little pronation protection and a 4 mm drop or 0 mm drop, because I’m working on good running form. Should I change shoes to something with overpronation protection, or even some orthotics, or is there something else I can do? Thank you!
I would never recommend “overpronation protection” shoes (they really don’t do that anyway), or orthotics for this either. Check out the articles on SockDoc – there’s plenty there on knee pain, overpronation and a lot more on shoes/footwear.
sam macri says
I have aching feet and legs for over 4 years.
I get relief by having a shower with warm/hot water.
I have had all tests under the sun from ultrasounds to MRIs ,bone scans ,seen ortho surgeons,neurologists had bone scans etc.Nothing has been found all done on feet and lower back with no abnormalities.
If I am on my feet for long periods my feet ache and will improve if I sit for a while.When I sleep my legs and feet may ache and will improve if I change positions,and when I wake in the morning I am stiff in my lower body and my feet hurt when I stand until I have a shower.
I do have another condition and wondering if this is linked.The condition is bi lateral cutaneous nerve impingement to my thighs which comes and goes when I am walking or lying on my back in bed ,but not at every occasion.I don,t have plantar fasciitis so don’t know where from here.
I am interested in your idea of trigger point therapy if the problem is to other parts of the body,any thoughts.
That’s really a tough one to say what’s going on. There are most likely trigger points in your legs but I’m sure they are there from muscle weaknesses in the lower legs/feet – that will give you the ache. Look for an applied kinesiologist or chiropractor in your area (AUS – right?) – who is familiar with soft tissue problems as well as metabolic problems. Typically something like this is systemic – ie: food allergy, nutrient imbalance, etc.
I have worn Nike Frees for several years. I was having some lower back/ hip issues. My chiropractor suggested I see a pedorthist. In January, I got custom orthotics and Mizuno shoes. I have flat feet and severe overpronation. My left foot has never felt good in the orthotic and my right foot in fine either way. I increased my running and was able to complete a half marathon with foot pain that I still deal with. I stopped wearing the orthotics in June. I now wear Nike Lunarglides and although they are great during short runs I am getting pains as my miles increase. My issues seems to be mainly pressure related in my 4th and 5th toes on my left foot. Do I need orthotics or is there a way to remedy this? I just want to run without pain.
Do you need orthotics? I think you know my answer to that.
More on overpronation here: http://sock-doc.com/2011/05/overpronation/
Foot pain video here: http://sock-doc.com/2012/05/foot-injuries/
And make sure you read this too: http://sock-doc.com/2012/03/healthy-people-barefoot-people/
I’ve been intrigued by your website, thanks for posting. I’ve been wearing orthitics for almost 20 years now and I’m getting a new pair soon. When I was recently being fitted the PT said the ligaments have stretched, etc and then I thought hey, why is that happening. Besides walking barefoot when I get home, are there other exercises to strengthen the lower legs and feet? Be great to get rid of the aches and pains. Also is there anyone you can recommend in the Baltimore Area.
Balancing on one leg is a great exercise to develop “foot feel” and when you can successfully do this for 30 seconds or so, then close your eyes (it will make it more difficult), and further develop balance and foot sense. Running in your place on the balls of your feet (like jump roping) is also great. Do this for about a minute, never letting your heels touch down. Though some people have other exercises to add in to this routine, walking and running are ideal and it does take time to build up the strength of the foot and develop the skin to a certain extent as you get into running outside. Check out the other articles on Sock-Doc too.
I have hammertoes, and also have had numbness in the balls of my feet for years now. I used to also have burning, but that has alleviated. Several years ago I was diagnosed with having Morton Neuromas in both feet (I thought it was odd that they were in both feet, but assumed the doctor knew what he was saying/doing) and was told to never, ever walk barefoot again! I started wearing metatarsal supports in my shoes and of course, they did do a set of orthotics (covered by my insurance), but after wearing them for a few days, I threw them out..they were NOT helpful at all..I felt like they were making matters worse (just like you say). Anyway, 4 years later, and the numbness has NOT gone away. It doesn’t bother me during the day (although sometimes if I only wear socks, the balls of my feet feel like I’m walking on bunched up socks and it is very uncomfortable) – it is mainly at night, particularly toward the early morning hours. When I stretch my feet, it literally feels like my toes and balls of feet are rubber bands and it’s difficult to stretch them out. (I do get cramps in my legs as well as my feet at night..probably at least a couple times/week.) I recently went back to a different foot doctor to see if I could get some relief – now I was told I do NOT have neuromas. He also performed a Nerve Conduction test and that was perfectly normal. He was obviously at a loss, but he thought it might have something to do with diabetic neuropathy (I was diagnosed with diabetes 2 years ago – A1c of 6.5, BUT I REVERSED this to a A1c of 6 and am no longer considered diabetic) and he gave me some METANX to try (which is basically Folic Acid & B vitamins, from what I understand.) I took it for about 2 1/2 weeks…with no improvement. I do still only wear flat and pretty expensive shoes (Naot, New Balance sneakers) and usually still wear the metatarsal supports (they do seem to help and are comfortable). Was just wondering if you have any thoughts on what else I could do? I would really appreciate it!!
Check out the Foot Pain Video here: http://sock-doc.com/2012/05/foot-injuries/, and you’ve got to work more on your diet. Great you’ve got the HgA1C down to 6.0, but you need to get it down lower at least in the mid-5 range.
Thank you. I will try the TWT diet and see if there is any improvement.
Hi Dr. Gangemi
I have a severe overpronation in my foot and i tried everything changed my shoes , used orthotics and tried walking barefoot around the house but still there is some pain. the pain subsides after a round of proper stretching but flares up again in 3 or 4 days. i was a active athlete but this stopped due to the pain. i had an MRI scan but doctors said that there is nothing wrong. your advice please
Check out the Sock Doc site, especially this article: http://sock-doc.com/2011/05/overpronation/
I am so glad I found your site while I was looking for help for my foot problem. I don’t actually see anything wrong with my foot, but it feels like I am walking on something. I have no pain on the top of my foot or near my toes. It feels swollen, on the bottom, behind the 2nd, 3rd and 4th toe. Is there a name for this? Will walking barefoot help this? If I try to push the big toe down, I get pain between the big toe and the 2nd toe and under the ball of the big toe. I did wear orthotics for a few years for a lump under the ball of the foot of the big toe. They wore out and I never replaced them, and now I have this. I can only wear sneakers because of this problem. If I wear a heal the pain gets worse. Any help will be greatly appreciated. I did some of the excecises you showed with bare feet and now I have more pain. I have had this for years now and I would like my left foot to feel great like my right foot does. Thank you.
Best bet right now is to read the info on the Sock Doc site about going barefoot and the videos on Foot Pain.
Thanks so much for this information. I have been using minimalist shoe-wear ever since discovering your website and reading more about the barefoot/minimalist lifestyle. At first I found it hard to find casual shoes that achieve minimalism and proprioception. I just wanted to pass along info on some shoes I found that achieved both just in case anybody is interested. They are called Sanuk Standard Slip On’s and they run between $30 (kids)-$40 (adults). The trick I use is to remove the insole and then the shoe is actually more minimalist than even my New Balance Minimus’s! Thanks again for all the info on your site(s)! Such a great resource!
I was wondering if you could help me. I suffer shin pain on my inside shin just above the ankle and I believe this is from over pronation.
The thing is that I am one of those people who have a smaller big toe than usual (i.e. my second toe is quite a lot longer) and therefore I tend to land on the heel not to push off the ball of the foot correctly. That was the analysis I got years ago from sports med person anyway.
For years I had this under control using shoes with good stability, stretching out the lower leg carefully after running and making an effort to push off the ball of the foot.
The question is whether I should try barefoot or minimalist running shoes or whether they would actually exacerbate the problem?
Hey Chuck – check out the Sock-Doc site. Answers to your questions over there.
I have a 12yr old son who pronates and has what they call “flexible” flat feet. He has always had orthodic inserts. as he grows his ankles look much better (since going barefoot and walking on the beach over the summer) I am wondering what would be a good PE sneaker for him. He would wear for an hour a day during the school year. Thank you
Check out the Sock-Doc site – lots of info regarding this over there.
Hi doctor I’m 12 and I’m planning to buy nike free runs. Is this a good idea because I wear orthotics and I’m not sure nikes will be good.
See here: http://sock-doc.com/2012/03/healthy-people-barefoot-people/
Jacqueline chow says
Asians go barefoot all the time when they are home. I have been barefoot at home since a kid. I also am flatfoot and has bunion. I have osteoarthritis on both knees. Besides that I have sociolosis with spinal stenosis. What should i do? Running gives me pain. Swimming is painful when my muscles are tight. I take dance classes twice a week.
I’d have to see you to help you out with those issues. Or look for a naturally-minded therapist or physician who can help you with those problems.
My son is now , five 11 and 180#. At the age of 11, he had his left tibia and fibia surgically broken to correct a 50 degree out toe (tibial torsion), and a year later they did the right one for the same reason. He also has no arch at all, and pronates insanely bad. Surgically cannot fix this.
What you are saying here really confuses me as he went WITHOUT inserts for YEARS and could barely run or walk without knee pain. His barefoot walk was stilted and painful.
Upon insertion of proper/doc prescribed inserts, he is running several miles with NO PAIN.
His doc is the head of the top pediatric orthopedic hospital. No quack.
So are there situations like this one where the insert is actually beneficial?
If you read the several more comprehensive orthotic articles over on the sock-doc site where you will see that there are sometimes exceptions. You do what works for you, and obviously your son’s condition is far from typical.
I was diagnosed with plantar fascitis a couple of years ago and was told i needed orthotics. The pain went away after about 6 mos with the orthotics but now i have numbness and tingling in the balls of my feet and toes all the time. i work behind a desk most of the day and i am not diabetic. Do you have any idea what could be going on?
Check out the Sock-Doc site; lots on PF over there.
I was prescribed orthotics to deal with Mortons Neuroma. They worked for the neuroma but were never comfortable and in particular I used to get extremely sore calves in them after walking only a few hundred yards and a sensation of slipping off the aggressive arch support onto the more tender outside part of my foot and toes. Eventually I gave up and threw them away and almost had to learn how to walk properly again. It went well at first but now I have intense pains on the bottom of my foot mostly by the toes but also the heel. In particular driving long distances seems to aggravate the pain as it is exactly where the accelerator presses on my right foot. I also find that sitting at a desk is very painful due to the constant pressure of the soles of my feet on the floor. I’ve tried a couple of orthopaedic surgeons and had 2 MRIs but they never ‘found anything to operate on’. Any ideas.
Check out the Sock Doc site – lots of info there that will hopefully help you out.
Robby Fast says
My 15 year old daughter has bunionettes. She has had daily pain for more than two years – both barefoot and in shoes. Two different podiatrists have told me that she needs surgery to correct the bone in her foot that is growing down and causing the problems and the pain. Insurance would not pay for surgery so I took her to Shriners to see if there were other options. The Orthopedic surgeon said that surgery was not an option but he wanted her to have orthotics and wide shoes. Since the orthotics (6 weeks) her pain is minimal while in shoes but has become VERY painful when in bare feet. The doctors don’t agree and the orthotics are making her feet worse; I am so confused. I am not a fan of surgery or othotics BUT i want my kid OUT of daily pain. I would appreciate your thoughts… barefoot hasn’t solved it (she was barefoot 80% of the time for about 4 months).
Check out the several articles on barefoot and orthotics over on my Sock Doc site. Start there and then let me know what questions you may have after reading those. Ideally you need a doc to properly assess & treat her (and not just say wear these – but actually go through all the muscles to see what is going on).
I’m wondering about my orthotic. It was made to get a little more arch as the foot had flattened some, and to avoid morton’s neuroma.
Is this similar to concerns you have seen with others using orthotics in the similar circumstances.
I’ve been wearing orthotics for 4 years as a guy I saw said I had some foot damage from wearing the wrong shoes etc and was having some back pain. Since I started wearing them though I have actually got much worse. My back gets really really painful and on Monday I collapsed and turns out a disk is herniated in my lumbar spine. However, I switched to a Nike free run shoe and carried on my normal exercise regime leading up to the back going (2 weeks ago) the doc thinks I may have done my back in by removing my orthotics and then running 5k and 10k distances in the free run shoe without strengthening the feet first. I’d love to know what you think of all this. I’m 27 and feel too young to be this weak in my back and legs. The only time I can remember being 100% free of all back pain since I was 18 was a 2 year spell when I was boxing.
Hope this isn’t too much
Thanks, looking forward to hearing from you
Check out all the info on my Sock-Doc site; thanks!
I have always had collapsed ankles and flat feet.
I’m an adult and I literally cannot wear 99% of the shoes in existence because of this problem. Shoes don’t fit properly and don’t look right. My legs looked bowed as well.
Orthotics are uncomfortable and, at this point in my life, I don’t know they’d really fix anything. What would you recommend?
Probably minimalist shoes and barefoot.
hey doc, i train mma/boxing style of martial arts very often and because i have very flat feet, during trainning itll start to hurt, especially if im doing strength and conditionging work i.e jumping rope for thirty minutes. ive noticed being barefoot on the balls of my feet alot causes sore knees, any tips?
Check out the articles/videos on my sock-doc site. :)
Hey doc. I recently had custom (expensive) orthotics made to help a severe flat foot and rolling ankle issue. The maker of the orthotics did create them in the corrected position, and they do help with the rather painful ankle problems I was having before I started wearing these. I had gone to 2 different orthopedic surgeons, one suggested these, and the other suggested a brace that runs from the calf to the foot. They both also said surgery was an option, but I figured to try the orthotics first. While they do help, and I am wearing NB cross training sneakers (suggested as they are the most supportive), I have issues now with my feet getting really hot and sweaty because of these orthotics. I also have a good amount of arch and heel pain when I am on my feet for a decent amount of time now because the cushioning in the inserts has flattened rather quickly. I am fairly large at close to 300 lbs as well. Any suggestions? I am almost leaning towards getting the surgery just to rid myself of these orthotics!
Please check out all the articles on the Sock-Doc site, thanks.
I was told I have plantar faciitis and I have dealt with the pain for over a year. It started out small but now it’s painful all day everyday. I am on my feet all day with my job. I also coach and officiate basketball. I had custom orthotics made 3 months ago and wear them daily with Nike air max shoes. I put my feet in the night cast to stretch and do stretches throughout the day to try and alleviate pain. What could possibly be the next step? I am miserable.
See the PF article and videos on my sock-doc site.
Chris Russ says
I have had back pain for a while and my Osteopath recommended Orthotics which for about 3 weeks helped greatly, Pian and discomfort is back and am suffering at the mo
I went for a short walk earlier and was getting tightness in my middle part of back, I repeated the walk 30 mins later without them and was not as uncomfortable
Perhaps there is something here, I am also booked in for an MRI to see if there is a MSK issue that needs sorting
Very easy to throw money at things in desperation
Hi, I’m a bit late to comment here, but I need some advice. I’ve been wearing Vivobarefoot shoes for the past six months. I’ve been wearing them exclusively, for all activities, including simply walking around town. The longer I’ve been wearing these shoes, the worse my feet and knees hurt. I never had ANY foot or knee pain like this before switching to these shoes, with the exception of a bunion on my right foot. I switched to barefoot shoes because they helped the bunion pain, but now I’m experiencing pain virtually everywhere else on my feet. Every single morning, I have to limp around the house for a while because my feet ache so much. It’s the same thing if I’ve been sitting down for a long time. As soon as I get up, my feet ache very badly and I limp until the pain goes away. My knees are also aching nearly constantly. I notice that when I walk in these shoes, my heel strikes the ground rather firmly (since I’m walking, not running, my heel will naturally strike first). I’m worried that this force is impacting my knees. For the record, I’m a 34 year old woman and I have never done any high-impact exercises such as running on a regular basis. The majority of my exercise is long walks.
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
This would be a good article for you to read next: http://sock-doc.com/barefoot-minimalist-walking-shoes/
I took Alexander Technique lessons for 3 years and this allowed my feet to widen back to their natural state.. I found wearing anything but flat soft slightly cushioned shoes after this would throw my knees and in turn back. So yes I definitely agree with your article! :) It was also amazing to discover that you can bend at the ankle!
Nathalie Rochon says
I would like to know if it is possible, when having hyperlaxity that is very lax feet and all the rest :) with over worked muscles, to really make these small muscles counteract the lax structures. Possible ehlers danlos syndrome.
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
It should be possible, though not sure with EDS as I haven’t the experience.
Hi. What do you say about finn comfor shoes, they are kina orthopedic shoes. Do they include the orthopedics just cause more foot pain in time? I need your quick answer, because I really suffer from arch and ankle pain from wearing not comfortable shoes. I have also diabetes, so I really mind to wear suitable shoes. Are those you recommended, also bes option for my foot as well.
God bless you and am looking forward to hearing from you.
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
I am not familiar with them. I don’t recommend orthopedic shoes to my patients.
Bonnie Corradetti says
I have worn orthotics from a podiatrist for 12 years and just recently at a workshop called “Fit Feet” learned about going barefoot, toe spacers, ball rolling under the feet, etc. I started slowly weaning myself from the orthotics (originally prescribed for plantar fachitis). Soon I began having a lot of lower back pain, tight and sore gluteus medius, periformis and hamstrings. I do the appropriate stretches, receive massage, physio and chiropractic but everything continues to really hurt. It was suggested I wear my orthotics for exercising but try to not use them the rest of the day. Not sure what I should do. Should I go back to my orthotics or continue as is. It is not getting any better despite all my efforts and therapy.
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
Plenty more articles on the sock-doc site and my views regarding orthotics.
I am a marathon runner who had custom orthotics made and now wearing green super feet… I was given the custom ones 3 years ago for sinovitus and now I want to stop wearing them I feel like they are bothering me… can I just stop wearing orthotics and do my normal training schedule of 30-40 mikes per week
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
Hard to say – you have to see how you feel and it depends so much on your overall health and foot strength.
Sandra hoover says
I have a bunion and have been using an Vionic insoles which are helping, but I went to a doctor and he made me another pair of
Insoles and told me to were brooks running shoes or Birkenstock. The problem I now have is that since using his insoles my hope are now really hurting me so he tole be to only use them a little until I get accustomed to them….this after two months. My hips were not hurting before his insoles, should I go back to Vionic or is he correct? Just doesn’t sound correct.
Hello! I’ve discovered I have Ehler-Danlos Syndrom and am hyperlax, for which I was told to wear higher shoes and I’d like to know which ones you recommend? Thanks in advance
What are your thoughts on flat feet? I was told the mechanics of my feet are bad in that they are extremely flat, causing my feet to collapse inward when I walk. All of the pressure is put on my inner bones and big toes to the point that I don’t have any fat under them, and it’s like hitting bone to the ground. My toes go numb after walking for any length of time. I was given generic orthotics to try for flat feet. I’ve been gradually wearing them for two weeks now, but they are pressing in the center of my foot, like I’m constantly walking on a rock. It’s not pleasant to walk. Is there a way to correct this without orthotics?
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
See here: http://sock-doc.com/arch_height-weight-leg_length/
Your article goes completely against my experience. I have been a barefoot stay at home mom for 26 years. I walked around the house and stood in the kitchen for hours and hours daily barefoot. Outside of the home, I rarely wore supportive shoes. Over the past five years, I started having trouble with cramping of my toes and aching feet/legs. This progressed until I could stand for no more than ten minutes before my feet and legs were burning with fatigue and I felt an urgency to sit down! My podiatrist says I have a high arch that is starting to fall. I am now wearing supportive shoes and orthotics which has helped immensely. I can stand for extended periods of time without nearly as much discomfort. Wearing no shoes caused my problem. I have a friend who grew up in Brazil and who rarely wore shoes. She has feet issues, too. Please, make sure you are not hurting people in your promotion of your ideas!
carol brownlee says
I’m a nurse on feet 13 hrs a day , see poduatristvand told I supinate , have very high arch and do walk on outside of feet. right foot was rotated nearly 90% out with a lot off hip pain . orthotics corrected this a lot songot custom made ones and now have verybpainfull feet esp balls of feetvandcpins and needles after 2 hours, can you help please
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
Check out the sock-doc site -> lots of foot health info over there!
Lana Smith says
Hello. I’ve worn orthotics for about 8 years now. It started because I had arch pain from wearing cute flat ballerina style shoes for a year. There was no support. They made a cast of my foot and prescribed an orthotic, though I don’t have flat feet. Three years ago, a podiatrist told me that I had the wrong orthotics and prescribed me new ones. Long story short, I want to know how I can wean off of my orthotics and get back to LBO (life before orthotics).
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
LBO – I like it! Best to check out all the foot and orthotic info over at my other site, sock-doc.com.
Alexandria Martinez says
For the longest time, my fiance has been talking about a pain in his feet. He should go to a podiatrist to check out the problem. I like that he also could get orthotics to figure out why he is feeling this pain and to correct it.
Half a year ago when I was going to buy my orthotics for my job, the doctor asked if I stand most of the time or walk around.
I said walk around.
But I started mostly only standing in basically one spot for my job over the past couple of weeks, which “coincidentally” is when both of my feet started feeling tingly and my right upper thigh (mostly only the side) started feeling intense heat when wearing them and numbness when lifting my heels off of the orthotics.
What should I do to solve this problem?
Buy regular insoles and use those instead?
(I wear steel toed boots and do traffic control)
Rory Lee says
My feet have been labeled as Pes Cavus and under pronation which carries with it a multitude of pain issues in all kinds of places. I have always worn shoes or boots. Orthotics seem to be the popular solution. I am I case for barefoot practices or is this a case of listening to traditional medicine?
Sarah T says
Greetings, I had no feet issues until after my first pregnancy – I put on 25kgs and after the birth had major foot, leg and back pain which was finally determined as being caused by my arches having collapsed. I was given specially made orthotics but these aren’t helping anymore and the pain is back coupled now with numbness. It is very painful for me spend time on my bare feet. What would you suggest?
Doug Makar says
I have read a lot of your stuff and watched many of your YouTube videos. I was diagnosed with PTTD in my left foot and have rehabbed it to the point that it’s not flat but still gives me issues and flares. Do you have any recommendations. Thru the podiatrist I have custom insoles but at 30 don’t want to be forced to wear them for the rest of my life. Any advice or recommendation you could give ?
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
See the articles and video on plantar fasciitis as well as general foot health as the tib posterior is the major culprit in those aliments.
Jayne rennison says
Hi, I hope you don’t mind giving me some advice,
My Achilles’ tendons are attached to the wrong part of my heel (2 podiatrists have told me this) which has pulled my foot into an incorrect position, I have therefore (apparently) through walking wrong all my life caused flat feet and hallux rigudus from my big toe joint getting the force of my foot hitting the ground when I walk wrong. I wear an orthotic now to straighten my tendons out, and my feet. I am trying to find exercises to help but the advice is as it’s structural really only the orthotic will work. Is this right? As I keep getting differing advice.
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
I’ve never had experience with something like that but I often hear that people are “not made correctly” and that’s the reason for their problem when really it is either a coincidence or just an excuse by the practitioner as he/she is unable to figure out the reason for the patient’s problem.
Freddie Smith says
I have been flat footed my whole life. I started barefoot and minimalist approach back in 2003. Since then I ditched old orthotics and stability MC type shoes. I have run in everything from VFF, NB minimums, Saucony Kinvara, brooks pure flow, Merrell trail glove. I recently tried correct toes with all listed above. I cannot seem to get over 3-5 miles consistently without injury occurring. Are my feet and lower legs stronger from all of this? Yes. Am I still as flat footed as when I started all of that? Yes. I cannot seem to build the consistent mileage I need to train for a 1/2 or full marathon which is something I really want to do. I am thinking that orthotics may be the only real answer for me to build healthy mileage to accomplish some of my goals in life. I would like to be able to say I ran a marathon one day. What are your thoughts on this?
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
Hi – I’d really need to see you to evaluate the problem and see how to best help. You can also look at my certified practitioner list here: https://systemshealthcare.net/find-a-practitioner/
My feet keep getting worse and worse with treatment. I have been wearing custom orthotics for years….it started with plantar fasciitis. I over pronate, have very high arches, hammer toes from the high arches, have been wearing orthotics. Developed right hip bursitis and learned my left leg is a 1/2 inch shorter than my right leg so now I have a heel lift. Another orthopedist said the bursitis is from squatting exercises and I had been rowing on an erg for years so I stopped this. But I developed Morton’s Neuroma, now I have a different orthotic which raised the whole bed somehow. Now my hammer toes are hurting me, I feel like I am bearing weight on the tips of some of my toes, and the tendons above these toes are becoming painful. I may be facing surgery to correct this and I am scared. I am 58 years old so I am attributing this to age. I am active and exercise, have normal weight, eat a healthy diet, and my sibilings who have much worse high arches and hammer toes than me and do not wear orthotics are fine. I do not know how to proceed.
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
For something this individualized I’d need to see you in the office for a full evaluation/treatment protocol.
Hi. I’m a long time (16) year orthotics wearer. Ive had a a lot of foot pain, lately and I’ve been reading about how bad orthotics are for one’s feet. I’ve also had a heck of a time trying to find running shoes that fit my wide midfoot. They just don’t make them I guess. I want to try going without the orthotics How do I correct my feet? Stretches, exercises? Is there a regimen you recommend? Please help.
. Mark Floyd
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
Check out all the foot videos and articles on this site to help strengthen and improve foot health.