Are Your Shoes to Blame for Your Foot Pain?

Foot pain can be caused by a number of different things, but ill-fitting shoes are one of the

Ray Nguyen

April 8, 2023

You've probably heard that poorly fitting shoes are frequently linked to blisters on your feet, but blisters aren't the only type of foot problem caused by footwear. Wearing the wrong pair of shoes may raise your chances of developing plantar fasciitis, toe problems, stress fractures, and other ailments.

Our podiatrist in Marrickville exposes some of the most common shoe slip-ups that are likely to be causing your foot discomfort.

Signs That Your Shoes Are Guilty

If you're experiencing foot pain, it's a good idea to look at your shoes and see if they might be to blame. Here are some signs that your shoes are guilty of causing your foot pain:

Your Shoes Don’t Fit

If your shoes are too tight, they might put too much pressure on certain parts of your feet, leading to pain. Wearing too-tight shoes can also irritate your feet, as can wearing shoes that are too loose.

Your Shoes Are Worn Out

If you've been wearing the same pair of shoes for years, they might be worn out and no longer provide the support your feet need. Over time, shoes lose their cushioning and ability to absorb shock, leading to pain in your feet, knees, and hips.

Shoes Are Too Flat

Your shoes are critical to support not just your foot and ankle but also your legs, knees, and hips. If your shoes have a low arch (or no arch), your weight can be unevenly distributed; causing discomfort.

When Fashion is So Cool But It Hurts

You might love the way those new stilettos look, but your feet are killing you after a few hours of wear. It's no secret that fashion and comfort don't always go hand-in-hand. Here are some of the most common footwear offenders:

High-Heeled Shoes

If you wear high heels frequently, you might be putting yourself at risk of developing bunions, hammertoes, and other problems. The balls of your feet take a lot more strain because of the height of the heel. Extremely high heels cause the most discomfort. This considerable increase in pressure can induce ligament, tendon, and even stress fractures in your sesamoid bones, metatarsal bones, and toe bones.

Pointy Shoes

Narrow shoes may be fashionable, but they can cause discomfort. Your toes are certain to be unhappy if you prefer shoe models with pointed toes and narrow toe boxes. Because the toe box is abnormally restricted, it compresses your toes together. If you wear pointy shoes on a regular basis, your toes will be squeezed together, causing bunions, hammertoes, hurtful blisters, and even nerve damage.


That's right; flip-flops can seem to be among the most harmless sandals one can wear. It's easy to slide them on and they seem quite pleasant. Wearing flip-flops for lengthy durations, on the other hand, can lead to discomfort in the feet. The main drawback of this type of sandal is that there is no arch support.

Right Shoes, Wrong Time

We always advise our patients to match their footwear to their activity. Even well-fitting shoes can cause discomfort in your feet if you aren't wearing the correct shoe for whatever sport or physical activity you're doing. Wear the appropriate shoes with your planned exercise. Playing soccer? Wear soccer cleats. Playing golf? Wear golf shoes? Are you planning a run on the road or trail? Wearing trail running shoes is a good idea.

Foot Problems Caused by Ill-Fitting Shoes

Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail is a common problem caused by several factors, including ill-fitting shoes. Shoes that are too tight can result in increased pressure, which can lead to the development of an ingrown toenail. Shoes that are too loose can also cause problems. If you're frequently wearing shoes that don't fit well, you might be putting yourself at risk of developing an ingrown toenail.

An ingrown toenail is a condition in which the edge of the nail grows into the flesh of the toe. This can be quite painful and can lead to infection. If you notice that your toenails are starting to curl inward or if you have pain or swelling around your nails, see a doctor right away.


If you wear shoes that don't fit well, you might be susceptible to developing blisters. Blisters from tight shoes are small pockets of fluid that form on the skin when it's been damaged. In addition to climatic and geographical conditions, friction can be a major cause of blisters on your feet. Shod feet are frequently irritated by ill-fitting shoes, which may rub against your skin and cause blisters. Blisters may also develop into an infection.

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that commonly affects the feet. It can be caused by wearing shoes that don't allow your feet to breathe. This type of infection typically starts between the toes and can spread to the toenails and the soles of the feet. If you notice that your feet are itchy, red, or scaly, see a doctor right away. Athlete's foot can be treated with antifungal creams or oral medications.

Corns and Calluses

Pinky toe corns and calluses are areas of thickened skin that form in response to friction or pressure. They often develop on the feet in response to ill-fitting shoes. Corns and calluses can be treated with over-the-counter medications or by trimming the affected area. If you notice any thickened areas of skin on your feet, see a podiatrist.


A bunion is a deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe. A number of things can cause it, but one of the common effects of wearing tight shoes is that it can make it worse. If your shoes don't fit well, they might be putting too much pressure on the joint. This can lead to pain and swelling. If you notice a lump on the side of your big toe, see a doctor. Bunions can be treated conservatively or surgically.


Hammertoe is a deformity of the toe in which the toe is bent at the joint, causing it to resemble a hammer. This condition can be caused by wearing shoes that are too tight or by having an injury to the toe. Have an expert evaluate it if you detect one of these problems. It's a red flag if your toe is bent and has a bulge on top. Hammertoe can be treated conservatively or surgically.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that can be caused by wearing shoes that don't fit well. If your shoes are ill-fitting or unsuitable, they can lead to increased pressure on the plantar fascia, the ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes. This can lead to pain and inflammation.

Barefoot Central! Is it Better?

It's tempting to remove your shoes at the end of the day and go barefoot. Walking and standing barefoot on hard surfaces can put a lot of strain on your feet's framework and cause discomfort. Apart from causing an aching body, walking barefoot exposes our feet to bacterial and fungal organisms that may infect the skin and nails.

Shoes to Match

Knowing what to look for in a shoe can help you avoid issues in the future and may even treat or cure the problem you're having right now. Your feet will thank you for starting early, allowing you to walk and move pain-free.

Although shoes are important, we may still develop issues even after wearing good supportive shoes. A thorough biomechanical assessment with our podiatrist can determine if your issue requires more complex treatment. Get in touch with us today and book online your initial standard consult!

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