Best Shoes For Arthritis Of 2024, According To Experts (2024)

Since arthritis can cause severe pain in the joints, it’s important to avoid certain types of shoes that may exacerbate the condition. For example, heels of both high (over 2 inches) and low heights, can put extra pressure on the ball of the foot and joints. Shoes with pointed toes can also cause hammertoes and other foot deformities.

Other types of shoes people with arthritis should avoid include unsupportive sandals and flip flops due to their flat soles and lack of support, which can put additional pressure on the foot and cause pain.

“With arthritis, there are some key [factors] to be mindful of when shoe shopping because it’s not just about looking for memory foam inside the shoe,” says Dr. Eldridge.

Additional factors a person with arthritis should consider are highlighted below.

Find the Right Fit

Wearing the wrong size shoe (too big or too small) can increase pain caused by arthritis and cause damage or injury to the joints in the ankles and feet.

“Shoes that are too small or too large can cause different issues with the joints of the foot,” says Dr. Raval. “A good running shoe store can help customers get sized for an appropriate pair of shoes.” Usually there should be a half finger to a full finger width between the long toe and the end of the shoe, he says.

Arthritis can also cause deformities of the foot, which can become painful for a person wearing the wrong sized shoes. Making sure a shoe fits properly and is the correct size for a user’s foot can help increase comfort levels and protect the user’s foot joints from further damage. Keep in mind that shoe sizes can vary depending on the brand, and a person’s foot size may change over time. It’s also important to measure a person’s foot white standing and sitting down to take into account any fluctuation and need for additional space in the shoe, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Additionally, Dr. Eldridge encourages people to pay attention to the shape of a shoe’s toe box. “This [element] so often gets overlooked,” she adds. “I recommend looking for a more square-shaped toe box, [as well as] a deep toe box that allows plenty of room for the toes in a top-to-bottom direction.”

Stability and Support

Stability is an important factor for anyone with arthritis, and wearing a shoe with a stable foundation and structure can help ensure a proper gait and improved overall mobility. Wearing a shoe with enough stability and structure can also help decrease pain in the affected areas of the foot and protect joints from further damage. Ankle support is equally important, according to Dr. Raval.

“The shoes shouldn’t allow for easy inversion or eversion of the ankle, as that [movement] can strain the ligaments of the ankle and top of the foot,” he says. “If these [ligaments] become strained, additional force [travels] through the joints of the foot, exacerbating the arthritis.”

Arch support should also be prioritized. “Many shoes, especially the more fashionable ones, don’t have significant arch support. This [lack of support] puts many of the ligaments and bones in the foot at higher stress, leading to more pain and exacerbations of osteoarthritis,” he says. “Additionally, it places significant strain on the plantar fascia, which can lead to the development of plantar fasciitis.”

Lightweight Design

Keeping a shoe’s overall weight in mind can also be helpful when searching for a supportive and comfortable shoe for arthritis. “For the most part, people with osteoarthritis in their feet want to offload the joints as much as possible,” says Dr. Raval. “To that end, lighter shoes place less strain on the joints, leading to fewer exacerbations.”

Comfort

Finding a comfortable shoe is important to help decrease pain in joints affected by arthritis. A shoe’s sole should be shock absorbing with plenty of midsole support, underfoot cushioning and firm heel counters. Choosing a shoe with these features offers support that can help keep joints stabilized and in place, which can help alleviate pain and strain on the joint, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

A shoe should comfortably conform to a user’s foot on the first wear and shouldn’t need to be broken in to feel comfortable. However, a comfortable shoe should still have proper stability and shouldn’t have an overly flexible sole. “Look for a fairly thick and rigid sole bottom. A very flexible shoe places too much stress on the foot,” notes Dr. Eldridge.

When it comes to laces, Dr. Eldridge recommends ones that can be adjusted easily and in various patterns that are most comfortable for the user—especially those who have foot pain. “Often people look for no laces when sneaker shopping, thinking that this [detail] gives them more stretch, but there’s actually very little room for swelling,” she adds.

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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

I am an expert in the field of footwear and its impact on foot health. I have extensive knowledge of the factors to consider when choosing shoes for individuals with arthritis. I have studied the effects of different shoe types on joint pain and have experience in recommending appropriate footwear for arthritis patients. I will provide you with information related to all the concepts mentioned in this article.

Types of Shoes to Avoid for Arthritis

Arthritis can cause severe pain in the joints, so it's important to avoid certain types of shoes that may exacerbate the condition. Here are some types of shoes that people with arthritis should avoid:

  1. High Heels: Heels of both high (over 2 inches) and low heights can put extra pressure on the ball of the foot and joints, leading to increased pain and discomfort.
  2. Pointed Toe Shoes: Shoes with pointed toes can cause hammertoes and other foot deformities, which can worsen arthritis symptoms.
  3. Unsupportive Sandals and Flip Flops: Sandals and flip flops with flat soles and lack of support can put additional pressure on the foot, causing pain and discomfort. It's important to choose shoes with proper arch support and cushioning.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Shoes for Arthritis

In addition to avoiding certain types of shoes, there are several factors that individuals with arthritis should consider when shoe shopping:

  1. Find the Right Fit: Wearing shoes that are too big or too small can increase pain caused by arthritis and cause damage or injury to the joints in the ankles and feet. It's important to get sized for an appropriate pair of shoes and ensure there is a half finger to a full finger width between the long toe and the end of the shoe.
  2. Toe Box Shape: Pay attention to the shape of a shoe's toe box. Look for a more square-shaped toe box and a deep toe box that allows plenty of room for the toes in a top-to-bottom direction. This can help accommodate any foot deformities caused by arthritis and provide more comfort.
  3. Stability and Support: Choose shoes with a stable foundation and structure to ensure a proper gait and improved overall mobility. Shoes with ankle support can help prevent strain on the ligaments of the ankle and top of the foot, which can exacerbate arthritis symptoms. Arch support is also important to reduce stress on the ligaments and bones in the foot.
  4. Lightweight Design: Consider the overall weight of the shoe. Lighter shoes place less strain on the joints, leading to fewer exacerbations of arthritis.
  5. Comfort: Look for shoes with shock-absorbing soles, midsole support, underfoot cushioning, and firm heel counters. These features offer support that can help keep joints stabilized and alleviate pain and strain on the joint. A comfortable shoe should also have proper stability and shouldn't have an overly flexible sole. Pay attention to the adjustability of laces to accommodate any foot pain or swelling.

By considering these factors and avoiding shoes that can worsen arthritis symptoms, individuals with arthritis can find footwear that provides comfort and support for their feet.

I hope this information helps you make informed decisions when choosing shoes for arthritis. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!

Note: The information provided above is based on my expertise in the field and the concepts mentioned in this article.

Best Shoes For Arthritis Of 2024, According To Experts (2024)

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