Guide to Finding Arthritis-Friendly Footwear

Whether you suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in your feet, knees, or hips, walking can become a painful ordeal, especially if you don’t have appropriate footwear. Orthopedic foot and ankle specialists in The Woodlands, TX, frequently give patients advice on what type of footwear can ease their symptoms and make walking more comfortable. Here are some things to pay attention to when choosing footwear that won’t aggravate your arthritis.


Arch Support

One of the most important components in your footwear should be how supportive it is. A lot of the pain from arthritis in the feet is exacerbated by unsupportive shoes. The arches need to provide ample support because then your foot won’t have to work as much with every step you take. The shoe should be rigid and bend only at the toes so that the heel can stay firmly in place to prevent pain and friction. If you’re still having difficulty finding shoes that provide ample support, you may want to consider finding shoes with removable insoles so that you can use custom insoles or orthotics.


Toe Room

In addition to appropriate support, you need to make sure there’s plenty of room for your toes. If RA has caused deformed joints, find a shoe that matches your current foot shape so that you won’t have to deal with additional pain from pressure points. Many people suffering from arthritis find that they need to purchase larger shoes than they previously did or that they require wide or extra-wide shoes. Make sure you find a shoe that fits both the width and length of your foot so that the shoe bends in the right spot and doesn’t create additional friction on your foot.


Good Soles

The soles are another important factor to consider. The sole should be relatively flat because a raised heel is far more likely to put pressure on sore areas. However, completely flat soles can also be bad because they’re often lacking in support and shock absorption. It’s best to find a sole that’s mostly flat but offers enough curve to allow a natural walking motion. There are shoes with rocker soles that help slightly propel the wearer’s gait so that weight is distributed more evenly over the entire foot. These types of soles can significantly reduce joint pain in your feet, ankles, knees, and hips. In addition, look for shoes with rubber soles because they provide more cushioning.


Stretchy Material

Orthopedic foot and ankle doctors also recommend finding a shoe with some flexibility if you have any deformities from RA or other foot conditions such as bunions or hammertoes. Stretchy fabric will allow room for these deformities rather than creating more pressure on them and increasing foot pain altogether.


Easily Adjustable

Adjustability is another important factor for helping you with arthritis flare-ups. Many people dealing with arthritis of the feet are affected by arthritis in the hands as well, so it’s usually best to avoid shoes that tie or to try using elastic laces that only require one or two pulls to make the shoes snug. You may also want to consider Velcro or other alternative fastenings that can be easily adjusted with one hand. Some shoes have self-lacing abilities that can actually sense how tight the laces need to be and they’ll tighten automatically.


If you suffer from arthritis in your feet and ankles, a foot specialist in The Woodlands, TX, can provide you with more information on the best shoes to lessen your pain. For more information, contact Ankle & Foot Specialists of Conroe, The Woodlands. Call our office in The Woodlands at 936-271-3668.