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Arthritis – Are Your Shoes Part of the Problem?

Arthritis can have a huge impact on the proper functioning of the knees, ankles, and feet. There has been much debate in recent years regarding which types of shoes are best for optimal joint health. Choosing the right footwear can help alleviate the symptoms associated with arthritis and foot pain.

The earliest known shoes are sandals dating from about 8000-7000BC while the oldest leather shoe was found in a cave in Armenia and is believed to date to 3500 BC. Obviously shoes have been a vital component to civilization for thousands of years and technological advancements have left us with an overwhelming selection to choose from. With such a variety of styles, making an educated choice can be the difference between comfortable, long lasting shoes or a pair that merely exacerbates your joint and foot pain, considering an all natural joint pain relief is key to getting better.

Several types of arthritis affect the feet particularly. Rheumatoid arthritis leads to inflammation in the joints which forces pressure to the balls of your feet. Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage and causes the formation of bone spurs on the top and side of the foot. Gout is yet another condition which leads to deformations around the foot.

Some styles of footwear which tend to aggravate arthritic conditions

Problem Causers:

Better Alternatives:


Lower Heels


Chunky Heels

Platform Shoes

Flatter Platforms

Pointed Toe Shoes

Wide Toe Box Shoes

There has been a great deal of controversy whether flat bottomed footwear with little or no arch support will aggravate or help foot and knee problems. On one hand some doctors say that if you wear flat, flexible shoes it may reduce the stress on your joints especially the knees. On the other hand there are doctors who firmly believe arch support is the only option for symptom relief. An interesting study was published recently concluding that flat bottomed footwear like sandals and flat walking shoes put approximately the same load on your knee whereas clogs and stability shoes with high arch support induced a 15% greater load on the knee. While flat shoes like sandals may provide better flexibility for the foot, they do pose a higher risk for tripping or falling.

There has been a new movement supporting the hypothesis that going barefoot or using minimalist footwear is the true way nature intended your feet to function. Supporters of the barefoot lifestyle advocate that shoes with arch support weaken the muscles in the foot hence causing destabilization and increased pain.

Ultimately the best plan of action for choosing proper footwear rests in the decisions of each individual. Trial and error plays a large part in making the right selection. Try on different styles of footwear to find your maximum comfort level. Fit is obviously a huge factor regardless of style so make sure whatever it may be, it is fitted and light weight but not constrictive in any way.

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