4 Common Foot Problems and What Shoes to Wear

Experiencing foot pain? Our feet have to endure a lot every day. Discover what some of the most common foot problems are, how to remedy them and what shoes to wear.

Our feet are remarkable. Every day, they allow us to walk, run, jump and climb for hours on end.

However, with up to 26 bones and 20 muscles in each foot, there are a lot of things that can go wrong.

From injuries to inflammation, at some stage in our lives, we’re all bound to experience some kind of foot problem.

So, whether you’re looking for the symptoms of reoccurring foot pain or just want to find out which shoes can help reduce a common condition, here’s everything you need to know.

Plantar fasciitis

Common foot problems - plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, occurring when the plantar fascia on the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed. As this ligament is directly responsible for supporting your foot’s arch, this can make getting out of bed in the morning and walking short distances extremely painful.

Symptoms

  • If you’re finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning.
  • If you’re experiencing pain on the bottom of the heel.

Best shoes for feet with plantar fasciitis

Ideally, you need flexible shoes with strong heel support. A block heeled shoe will give your feet the right amount of support and help to reduce the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

A blocked heel simply mean's footwear which provides a wider heel base giving you more support, in the area you most need it. In order to give yourself more choice in your range of footwear, it is best to invest in suitable heel support and insoles. We recommend SOF Sole Support Insoles or Superfeet Green insoles.

When you’re resting at home, applying ice can reduce inflammation, while taking ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can manage pain. (But please consult your local GP, doctor or podiatrist beforehand.)

Stretching the foot throughout the day is also worth doing.

Our FREE guide for Plantar Fasciitis is now available to download. Looking at the condition in more detail and providing contact information for specialist footwear makers and aids. 

Bunions

Common foot problems - bunions

Bunions are probably one of the easiest foot problems to diagnose, as you’ll see a visible bump developing on the large toe joint, which causes the big toe to turn inwards. This kind of foot problem often happens when you’ve been wearing narrow or tight footwear, as it puts pressure on the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP).

Having a family history of bunions is a cause too.

Symptoms

  • If you see a clear visible bump on the side of the foot.
  • If your big toe is tender.
  • If you see a callus or corn on the bone below the big toe.
  • If you’re finding it hard to move the big toe or it’s painful when you walk.

Best shoes for feet with bunions

When it comes to finding the best shoes for people with bunion foot problems, you need to think spacious and flexible. Wide-fitting shoes will give your feet the space to breathe and will make walking less painful.

Percy Stride footwear tends to air on the wider side and therefore can provide more comfort for those who suffer from bunions. See our full range here.

wide fit - mens handmade oxford shoes

In terms of treatments, applying a bunion pad and applying ice for 10-minute intervals with a cloth wrapped around can help manage inflammation.

For more information on bunions and how to accommodate them please download our FREE guide on footcare for Arthritis, covering bunions and hammertoes.

Fallen arches/flat feet

Common foot problems - fallen arches and flat feet

Fallen arches, otherwise known as Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD), is a very common foot problem affecting the foot and ankle.

PTTD or fallen arches can cause a lack of stability and support in the arch, which results in flat-foot conditions.

The Posterior Tibial Tendon attaches your calf muscles to the bones on the inside of your foot. When it becomes inflamed or torn, it’s unable to support the arch – resulting in PTTD.

You’re most likely to get it when you experience a fall or pick up a sports injury. However, obesity, diabetes and hypertension can also play a part in this foot problem.

Symptoms

  • If you experience severe pain or swelling along the inside of your foot and ankle.
  • When you find it painful to walk, run or stand.
  • If you have any pain on the outside of the ankle or the back of your foot.
  • If you roll your ankle inward or have a noticeably flattened arch.

Best shoes for feet with fallen arches (flat feet)

To help support this foot problem, you need to pick shoes that have a rigid sole and firm heel counter. You must avoid high heeled or flat shoes and go for ones with a slight platform and flexibility to support your walking motion and your arch.  In the case of which footwear to choose, it is always advised to select footwear which is handmade, therefore you can guarantee quality, proper construction and support.

Buying supported arch insoles can help as well. Try our FREE guide on fallen arches and flat feet, where we look more extensively into the condition, how to manage it and services, brands which could make your footwear selection process easier.  

Corns and calluses

Common foot problems - corns and calluses

Corns and calluses are thick patches of hard skin that usually develop on the feet. These foot problems often arise when your feet are injured, put under pressure or subject to friction.

This can be a result of choosing badly fitting shoes, having sweaty feet or standing for long periods.

If you leave corns and calluses untreated, they can cause severe foot pain in the long-run.

Contrary to belief, there is a difference between the two foot problems:

  • Corns is a kind of callus made of dead skin. They commonly form on smooth, hairless skin surfaces (often on the side or top of your toes).
  • Calluses are yellowish or pale toughened, hard bits of skin. You’ll find these on the underside of your feet and sometimes on the hands, elbows or knees. They’re normally a lot bigger than corns.

Symptoms

  • If you have visible and painful yellowish bits of hard skin on the bottom of your feet or toes (callus).
  • If a rounded lump of dead skin forms on the side or top of your toes (corns).

Best shoes for feet with corns and calluses

For this foot problem, you need a pair of well-fitted shoes with soft insoles that can reduce friction when doing exercise or moving around.

If you already have corns, opt for shoes that are slightly wider to stop them from rubbing and making your foot pain worse.

Just be sure to give your feet time to heal before doing strenuous exercise or walking large distances.

If you suffer from a foot condition we haven't mentioned or want to know more please see our FREE foot care guides available here. We have looked at conditions such as wide/narrow feet as well as diabetes, arthritis and plantar fasciitis; what shoes and services are available for your needs and how to manage your condition.

Want to read more on foot problems and remedies? Then check out our previous posts: