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deegw

I'm at my wits end about my ... feet!

deegw
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

The only pair of shoes that doesn't cause me to painfully hobble around after wearing them is Adidas ultra boost sneakers. I'm 60 but I'm not ready to give up on cute shoes. Yesterday I chuckled to myself because I was trying to figure out how to Google a version of "how to walk", thinking there might be something wrong with my gait.

I've tried inserts with middling success. DH laughs every time a pair of shoes comes in the mail because most of them are worn a few times and go straight to P-mark.

I'm not overweight, my feet are bony and narrow with high arches. If you had foot trouble, how did you solve it?

Comments (48)

  • Bluebell66
    2 months ago

    I have foot and ankle issues and found an account on Instagram called GaitHappens. It was there I learned that there are people who can analyze gait and help with foot issues. I have been doing the exercises they show on their account and my feet do feel stronger and my walking is better. I also use a Mobo Board to exercise my feet. Your doctor can probably refer you to a local gait analyst or physical therapist who can help. It's worth checking out!

    deegw thanked Bluebell66
  • daisychain Zn3b
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Discussions on here led me to discover that a shoe that has no bend to it is usually best for me, but even with this knowledge, I have trouble.

    It sounds like you don't need more brand recommendations, but I just purchased a pair of Vionic's and wore them all day yesterday without pain (very unusual for me). They do bend, but have good arch support. I've tried all the usual "comfort" shoe brands with little success. Good luck in your quest. Hopefully others have suggestions that work for you.

    deegw thanked daisychain Zn3b
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  • Tina Marie
    2 months ago

    First of all, have you seen a doctor? If not, I would go and be evaluated. It may be something very simple they could help you with.

    deegw thanked Tina Marie
  • jojoco
    2 months ago

    Daisy, what shoe that doesnt bend do you recommend? my sister has arthritis in her big toe and is only comfotable with shoes that dont bend ( like Birkies, but she wont pay for those).

    deegw thanked jojoco
  • bpath
    2 months ago

    Just an aside, but I’ve been wondering if there is such a thing as a gait analyst! I find that the front of the big-toe area of all my right shoes scuffs, and I can’t figure out why. I’ll check around for a gait analyst, to thanks for that.

    deegw thanked bpath
  • Jinx
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I don’t know if these would help, but my DD swears by https://www.orthofeet.com/collections/women-shoes.

    I got her these for her birthday:

    https://www.orthofeet.com/products/lyra-gray

    She has a rare disease — Tumoral Calcinosis — and had four major surgeries on her foot from ages 6-10. Each time, they had to remove so much tissue, the bottom of her foot now has no padding (her last surgery, they thought they’d have to amputate). Anyway, walking causes her extreme pain, and she says these are the best shoes she’s tried over the years.

    Good luck, hope you find a solution. (I agree about seeing a specialist.)

    deegw thanked Jinx
  • 3katz4me
    2 months ago

    There's gait analysis for amputees (done by well trained PTs) so I would think there'd be similar for people with two legs/feet. Have you considered seeing a podiatrist and an orthotist to get a professional opinion on the problem?

    deegw thanked 3katz4me
  • Ally De
    2 months ago

    Could be arthritis. That's a witch in one's feet.


    Have you seen a podiatrist? Beware the ones who want you to buy your shoes from them. But it's good to know why you hurt because the strategies to address it will vary based on why...

    deegw thanked Ally De
  • deegw
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Bluebell, I just checked out Gait Happens, their office is actually a short drive from my house. I may make an appt. Thanks for the info.

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Just remember, super fashionable women are currently pairing dresses and such with sneakers.

    PS The mark of youth is health and vitality. Do nothing that jeopordizes that. Wear what you must to not be hobbled. I would go to a podiatrist.

    deegw thanked Zalco/bring back Sophie!
  • straitlover
    2 months ago

    i have some Alegria sandals and one pair of Dansko sandals that don't really vend. A former co-worker developed arthritis in her feet, and she switched exclusively to Alegria and Dansko for non-sneakers. Don;t recall what sneakers she wore since we could only wear them on Fridays. Zulily has some Alegrias on there right now for reasonable prices if you want to buy a pair to try out.

    deegw thanked straitlover
  • LynnNM
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I also have high arches and consider mine definitely problem feet. I almost exclusively wear Clarks brand shoes.

    deegw thanked LynnNM
  • Yayagal
    2 months ago

    Is it possible you have neuropathy, do you feel like your foot sole is being pinched and warm?


    deegw thanked Yayagal
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    2 months ago

    I'd definitely look into seeing a podiatrist.

    And what parts of your feet are painful? Our feet do sort of spread out as we age, and width requirements can change.

    I recall someone around here mentioning how we also lose some of the padding on our soles with age as well.

    deegw thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • arcy_gw
    2 months ago

    All shoes hurt my feel also. Podiatrist shot me up with cortisone as I have nerve bundles at the base of my toes causing the issue from too tight of shoes/heels back in the day. It was mildly successful. Depends on how long I wear the shoes. All day at work still not great for many pairs I have. I noticed NEVER do they hurt all summer when I wear only sandals or gardening shoes. I have decided this winter I will become one of THOSE PEOPLE wearing sandals and socks to work. Cute shoes are not something I could care about. Pain and getting around now THOSE are important!!

    deegw thanked arcy_gw
  • SeattleMCM
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Everyone is different, but I have high arches and suffered from Plantar Fasciitis a few years ago. I tried stretching, custom orthotics and so many different orthopedic shoes. Nothing helped much. Then I wore Birkenstocks every day for an entire summer and swear they healed my feet. Now I can get away with "normal" shoes 3/4 of the year, and switch back to Birks for most days in the summer. (I do need to keep up with stretching too.)

    I think Birks re-formed my feet or something. When I first got them, they felt so weird and it took weeks to feel comfortable. I thought it was because I was breaking them in, but really it turned out it was more like the other way around -- the sandals were correcting my feet. Now when I buy new ones, I can wear them out of the box with zero pain.

    deegw thanked SeattleMCM
  • OutsidePlaying
    2 months ago

    I thought i posted a response last night but dont see it. Anyway, yes someone who can specialize in exercises for your feet could help greatly. My Pilates instructor is very knowledgeable about the connection between foot flexibility and gait. As we age many lose flexibility in the foot and ’forget’ how to use the great toe to push off when we walk. Getting strength back in the foot, ankles and calves will also help. There are many exercises to gain back this flexibility and i strongly urge you and others to address this issue as well as find shoes that support your arches too.

    I also have a narrow foot and high arches. Exercises for the foot and inserts have helped me over the years. But no shoe can be a real fix.

    deegw thanked OutsidePlaying
  • eld6161
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    https://www.arthritisandsports.com/post/what-is-mls-laser-therapy

    Please consider MLS therapy.

    I did this for my torn tendon in my ankle.

    I also did PT for 6 months.

    I think the MLS made a difference.

    deegw thanked eld6161
  • rubyclaire
    2 months ago

    I have developed a Morton's Neuroma in my foot (may be same as what arcy desribed). So stinking painful!! I had great success with first cortisone injection in 2020 but my subsequent injections this year have been unsuccessful. My Birkenstocks are my best options but my neuroma has progressed to where it hurts even barefoot and even sometimes in my Birks. So, I have an appointment in a couple of weeks to discuss surgical options. I know a common "side effect" can be numbness in the affected toes (2nd & 3rd I think) but I think I will take that over the pain.

    deegw thanked rubyclaire
  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    2 months ago

    A podiatrist diagnosed me with a neuroma, and gave a cortisone injection, which helped temporarily. I suffered on for a (too long) while, and finally went to another, who told me there was no neuroma - what I have is capsulitis or "pre-displacement syndrome", which is deterioration and inflammation of the joint capsule at the base of my 2nd toe. Fortunately I hadn't gone back for more injections, because that would actually hasten the deterioration of the joint tissues.

    A google search exactly described my symptoms - the main one being a feeling that I have a small stone in my foot that is causing the pain, after I have been doing yard work or have walked too far. It's one of the things that has kept me from running, even walking except rarely.

    I now have a soft splint for that toe, and a pair of plantar fasciitis sleeves, which are gel pads that fit in the arch, and those help a lot. He also fitted my shoe insoles with metatarsal pads, to relieve pressure on the joint. He approved of my Hoka shoes (highly cushioned) and told me to always be sure that the toe box of my shoe is roomy.

    I also found foot strengthening exercises to do (I hadn't kept up after I recovered from the bad fasciitis 7 years ago), and have to put more emphasis on stretching my calf muscles since tight calves contribute to many foot problems.

    deegw thanked raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
  • deegw
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    My main problem seems to be plantar fasciitis in one foot, it's most painful the day after spending time on concrete floors. It's really bad if I don't wear ultra-cushioned shoes. My hip, calf, and hamstring on that side are tight as well. Stretching helps but I don't know if the tightness causes the PF or the PF causes the tightness.

    It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one but it's disheartening that there seems to be a different solution for everyone. I believe a podiatrist visit is in order. Thank you for all your thoughtful responses.

  • arcy_gw
    2 months ago

    The numbness in my toes and ball of my foot came before the pain for me. They've been numb for YEARS. Doc said "too tight of shoes" . My podiatrist did say surgery, down the road could be an option. I'll stick to sandals if that works!! I too have an extraordinarily high arch. Small wide foot with high arch has had me wearing the 'wrong' size shoe most of my life. I should have cared enough to wear decent shoes as it turns out. sigh

    deegw thanked arcy_gw
  • JustDoIt
    2 months ago

    I could have written the post. I have a closet full of shoes worn 1 or 2 times. I'm still trying to find a pair that I'm not in pain after about an hour.

    deegw thanked JustDoIt
  • sjerin
    2 months ago

    Add my name to the list of people with foot problems. It can be very frustrating when it keeps one from exercising.

    My main problem is pf which tends to hang on for a year or more; this last bout has been with me for a good 9 months or so. I did have a problem with a Morton’s neuroma a few years ago but it has since disappeared. I had a theory as to why that happened but now I've forgotten it. Yes, I’ve bought wayyyy too many pairs of shoes, focusing on sandals as my feet get hot too easily. I have never worn sketchers before but apparently they are now making shoes for people with these common problems. I’m wearing a pair every day now and just bought more of the same, because they feel so good—better than the vionics I had been wearing. Most built-in arch supports arent high enough for me and I cant keep separate supports in a sandal; these are the best yet. I’m so pleased that they are working well for my high arch and pf so far! (@ 3 months) (I have nothing to do with the company.)

    deegw thanked sjerin
  • Trailrunner Zone 7a VA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I bought a pair of the new Birkies that are made of EVA. I can’t usually wear any Birkies but DD convinced me to try.

    I have Mortons Neuroma, Bunions, Hammertoes. Tailor Bunion on L foot. So these are cheap amazingly comfortable , washable…. they are helping my toes flatten and straighten as I use my toe separators in them ( they won’t fit in any other shoe or sandal)

    After decades of ultras and trails/ roads and genetics my feet are a mess. But believe me I would not suggest these to anyone if they weren’t an amazing solution. Before picture

    AFTER:




    Toes separated zero discomfort cheap sandals can walk all day in them and garden washable. win- win

    deegw thanked Trailrunner Zone 7a VA
  • OutsidePlaying
    2 months ago

    Trail, I forgot to mention toe separators above, but glad you did. I wear them too for some different, relatively minor issues and they are amazing in what they can do, and your photos prove it.

    deegw thanked OutsidePlaying
  • deegw
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    C - oh my goodness, your poor feet. I'm so glad you found relief.

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    2 months ago

    deegw, tightness in the "chain" of plantar fascia, calf, and on up definitely contribute, and it gets to be a vicious circle.

    Unfortunately, neither a visit to a podiatrist nor a chiropractor helped resolve my months long PF (acquired after working on my feet for 12+ hours/day, on a foot with first one, then another broken toe) which altered my gait for a long time). The podiatrist prescribed taping, orthotics, and massage, and foot exercises.

    What worked for me: max dosing ibuprofen for the max safe number of days; using a tennis ball to massage and stretch the bottom of the foot (I mean, stand on the ball, applying and released pressure - this will hurt at first!), using a good gel arch support in my shoes, using one of those night splints that keeps the foot flexed and the plantar fascia stretched while asleep, and finally, a boot that also kept the foot immobile and flexed (I added folded paper under balls of the toes to get that stretch) when at home. All of that to allow the fascia to heal properly without constantly re-aggravating it. Also paid more attention to stretching.

    After 2 weeks the PF was gone! and never came back despite resumed training for half marathons, 13 mile hikes, digging in the garden etc.

    I learned all those techniques from running forums, by the way... just like some of the things I am trying for my current metatarsal capsulitis.

    deegw thanked raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
  • Trailrunner Zone 7a VA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    @deegw haha they look bad in that picture ! in reality they are fine and haven’t ever been particularly painful . I haven’t had metatarsalgia or Morton neuroma pain / inflammation since I stopped walking barefoot on my wood floors in our other house. Also the metatarsal pad built into my insoles works great. I currently use the 10 second brand and they are wonderful.

    I have run 100 mile races with no foot problems so every day they carry me forward without pain is a gift 🙏.

    . I am SO impressed with these new Birkenstocks!!!! Amazing and cheap.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=eva+birkenstock&rlz=1CDGOYI_enUS676US676&oq=eva+&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j69i57j0i67l2j69i60l2.2305j0j7&hl=en-US&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

    https://www.google.com/search?q=10+second+insoles&rlz=1CDGOYI_enUS676US676&oq=10+second+in&aqs=chrome.0.0i512l3j69i57j0i512l2.9213j0j7&hl=en-US&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

    deegw thanked Trailrunner Zone 7a VA
  • Arapaho-Rd
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Bunions here (heredity). While volunteering in a hospital as a courier walking flights of stairs and long hallways and wearing the wrong shoes I had a bunion flair-up that was so painful I could barely walk. No shoes to wear either. After seeing two podiatrists -one wouldn't get near my foot, the other wanted to go directly to surgery, I found a podiatrist who worked with me, provided orthotics and explained how the wrong fit or design of a shoe can rub against the bunion and cause a flare-up.

    Sad but true that most shoes are not designed to fit the normal shape of a foot and jamming them into a stylish look is something I just can't do anymore. Why can't a shoe be cut correctly and look good too ?!

    deegw thanked Arapaho-Rd
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    IMO, many people seem not to know what a proper shoe fit looks or feels like. I am fortunate in that my family was in shoe manufacturing - women's shoes, to be precise, and we were raised with properly fitted shoes. My dad had a children's shoe store too, when I was little, and taught me how shoes should be fitted - both for kids and adults. I worked in a shoe dept. at what is now Macy's for several years too, which my dad suggested as a way to learn the biz.

    FWIW, I had to wear orthotics for years as a kid to correct hyper-pronation. They were rigid forms and had to be worn in heavy leather oxfords that were definitely not fashionable, and the forms left big calluses on the backs of my heels that took decades to finally disappear and kept me from wearing backless shoes for a long time. Nowadays, there are so many good shoes for kids and adults designed for optimal support and they look cool too.

    So this is what I was taught:

    There should be at least 1/2" space between the end of the toes and the tip of the shoe. There should be enough room to move the shoe material with a finger over the tops of the toes - that is, you should be able to wiggle your toes inside the shoe. The arch/curve of the shoe should match the arch/curve of the foot, and the widest part of the front foot should match the widest part of the shoe. All this is checked while standing up, not sitting.

    deegw thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • eld6161
    2 months ago

    Amen, Carol.

    And, shoes should always feel comfortable from the get go. Breaking them in has never worked for me.

    deegw thanked eld6161
  • salonva
    2 months ago

    This is all really fascinating to me and I am taking notes.... Several years ago I was doing zumba regularly (with wonderful new balance ) and I kept thinking that my socks were bunching up or that there was a pebble in the shoe. I went to the podiatrist who said that was the classic description for Morton's Neuroma. I got custom orthotics ( super rigid) and only used them in sneakers. I had no foot pain after that. Thankfully the discomfort went away.


    I do not have an easy time with shoes and insist on comfort. This year I bought Teva Tirra sandals and from day 1 was able to wear them and walk walk walk and no discomfort ever. I have some other leg issues but my feet are great. I never had a pair of shoes as comfortable as these Teva Tirra. On vacation we had a few days of 17 or 18K steps, cobblestones, everything. Those sandals were better than sneakers.

  • deegw
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I just wanted to give a little update. The thing that appears to have worked for my plantar fasciitis is acupuncture!

    I was able to get the heel pain down quite a bit with ice, stretching, a stretching boot, not walking around barefoot and pain patches but there were still some mornings that the first steps were a struggle.

    I was headed to the podiatrist but I knew the problem was related to my hip, hamstring, and calf muscles so I was trying to think of a more holistic option. I had acupuncture for my allergies a few years ago and it was successful so I decided to try it for my foot.

    I didn't get significant immediate relief but the lack of pain the next morning was striking.

  • eld6161
    last month
    last modified: last month

    That is terrific.

    For future reference, MLS therapy can help with plants fascitis.

    It help heal my torn tendon.

  • nicole___
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @deegw.....When I wear "pretty" shoes, I don't walk mileage in them. I go to an event and sit. Otherwise....when I dressed up for work...I carried tennis shoes in a big pack. I walked from the building to the parking lot in those. ie: This weekend we're going to a BBQ. I'll wear "pretty" shoes and sit and eat. Earth Origins These are comfortable take a look!

  • Tina Marie
    last month

    @deegw that is interesting. I had a heel problem a few years ago and it also resulted in my achilles tendon being very tight. I went to PT for several weeks and the one thing I never thought I could do - DRY NEEDLING - helped me the most. The first time I thought I would either throw up or faint LOL (yes, I have a bit of a needle phobia). It helped so much, even after just one treatment that I actually ASKED for it again!


    I would love to hear about acupuncture related to your allergies.



  • eld6161
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Nicole, I call them my “looking cute for running from car to restaurant” shoes.

    I find even my cute shoes have to be comfortable. I can't even wear a kitten heel.

    I have to be careful and can't wear a high wedge.

    Tina, my sister is a retired PT and she always recommends dry needling.

  • Tina Marie
    last month

    @eld6161 I am the same. My cute shoes have to be comfy shoes too. You can find them! I have never liked kitten heels. I love wedges, but I will not wear a high wedge either. I'm always afraid I will turn my ankle.


    When I was being treated for my heel/achilles tendon, I had the BEST physical therapist. I called him the "foot whisperer". He would close his eyes, feel along my tendon and find "the spots" to place the needles. I had to have them also in the little ankle/heel area (kind of behind the ankle bone), yes, that little sensitive spot. He was so, so good. I would have dry needling again without hesitation. To think the foot dr. I went to wanted to go straight to surgery and "clip" my tendon!!!

  • Eileen
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I got tired of not being able to walk very far without pain so I made an appointment with my primary care doctor. My feet were x-rayed and I have mild bunions and arthritis in the joint over my toes. I knew it was probably bunions but never suspected arthritis. I just finished my phone appointment with the podiatrist. She recommended I try OTC orthotics first and she likes the brand Superfeet.

    If you've been suffering for a long time but have never been diagnosed, you really should see a podiatrist and find out exactly why you have foot pain.

  • nicole___
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @eld6161...yes. Those are low wedges..."AND" comfortable! Runners always have foot issues. I hit the arch of my foot with a scuba tank. Got a gangalion cyst, that hardened. My feet have all kinds of trauma...but...no pain. I wear Cobian flip flops....they feel like memory foam. VERY comfortable! Link Cute...but comfortable! I don't wear "cheap" shoes.

  • eld6161
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Eileen, DH is a firm believer in orthodics. My feet do have arthritis, I am using various creams geared for that.

    I don't want orthodics because I want to wear sandals, flats etc. and they won't fit in those shoes.

    I'm really not in serious pain, so I'm leaving things be for now.

  • patl8
    last month

    I have bunions and have battled plantar fascitis. Currently doing well after replacing my whole shoe wardrobe with Vionic shoes. (or Vionic inserts in the few old ones I loved). I wear the Vionic Relax slipper every minute in the house. Never ever walk much barefoot. I need the arch support. You could try a pair of the slippers or flip flops before trying the shoes. They are not cheap but worth it all to me.

  • DLM2000-GW
    last month

    @bpath I just saw this thread and your comment about your shoe scuffing at the right big toe. Certainly it could be a gait problem but based on your brief description I would say the same thing or something similar happens to me. In my case it's moving from accelerator to brake pedals - I sometimes scrape the underside corner of the brake pedal across the right front toe area of my shoe/boot. My favorite pair of leather boots has a nice gash in the leather.

  • smhinnb
    last month

    I have a bone deformity & over pronation in my right foot and it has caused me years of trouble. Because I often favor that leg/foot, it has lead to bouts of plantar fasciitis along with trouble with my hip, knee, etc. Acupuncture definitely helps - I have found an acupuncturist that is also a massage therapist and she will incorporate both into her treatment, and it is fabulous.


    I wear custom orthotics when I am wearing shoes or boots, and in the summer I almost live in Vionics - mostly their Tide II style of flip-flops. I know flip-flops aren't generally something you would think to wear when experiencing foot issues, but these ones have significant firm, molded arch support and a deep heel cup. I have about 10 pairs of them now, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I wear them 95% of the time (luckily my office is not open to the public and is pretty casual... unless there is something special going on I can wear my flip-flops around the office).


    I wear a lot of Vionics and I have pretty good luck with them, but even with Vionics I will most often use my own orthotics when I can. But these flip-flops were a game changer for summer footwear for me.


    Other brands I have had some luck with are Aetrex and Alegria.






  • Trailrunner Zone 7a VA
    last month

    @salonva I had forgotten about Teva sandles. I ordered from Zappos and they just came. I had been wearing Keens which hurt my feet so out they finally go! My feet look terrible but they don’t hurt. The Teva’s allow me to wear my Correct Toes which I got 6 years ago. So far this morning these are quite comfortable.


  • salonva
    last month

    So glad it worked for you! I am still raving about the Teva's and totally prefer them to sneakers and any other shoes. ((wonder how they'll look with socks this winter. just joking))