Topic Overview

Many foot problems-such as
calluses and corns, or
hammer, claw, or mallet toes-will not become severely
painful or disabling if you wear shoes with a wide toe box that gives your toes
and the ball of your foot more room.

Try to wear shoes that:

  • Have low heels. Avoid high-heeled, narrow, or
    pointed-toe shoes. High-heeled shoes increase pressure on the front of the foot
    and on the toe joints. If you cannot avoid wearing pumps or high-heeled shoes,
    choose shoes with heels that are no more than
    2 in. (5 cm) high. Alternate
    wearing these with low-heeled shoes.
  • Have wide and deep toe boxes
    (the area that surrounds the toes). There should be about
    0.5 in. (1.3 cm) of space
    between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. You should be able to wiggle
    your toes in your shoes.
  • Are made of materials that stretch. In
    some cases, it may be possible to stretch your shoes over the problem area so
    that they don’t put pressure on a painful area. This may help relieve or
    prevent pain. Look for a shoe repair shop that stretches shoes, or ask your
    doctor to recommend one. You may also want to find a shoe
    manufacturer that makes special or custom shoes for people with foot
  • Lace up rather than slip on. Athletic shoes are a good
  • Have a rigid yet cushioned heel counter that keeps your
    foot from slipping out of the shoe.
  • Have a sole that doesn’t hurt. For some people this means a flexible sole that allows your toes to bend as you walk. For other people, a firm sole that helps the joints stay straight is more comfortable.
  • Allow the ball of your foot
    to fit snugly into the widest part of the shoe.
  • Allow your feet to
    breathe when they sweat. Avoid plastic or vinyl shoes.
  • Do not have seams that may rub against or irritate the skin over
    your problem joint.

At home, try wearing sandals or soft-leather flat shoes or slippers. Or buy
an inexpensive pair of shoes and cut a hole over the affected joint.

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ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Gavin W.G. Chalmers, DPM – Podiatry and Podiatric Surgery

Current as ofMarch 21, 2017