Fashionable footwear isn’t always comfortable for your feet. High heels and shoes with a narrow toe box can cramp your toes. But did you know your shoe choice can also cause pain in other parts of your body like your knees?
Supportive shoes help with body-weight distribution and take on some of the impact placed on your knees when standing, walking, or climbing stairs. If you have knee pain, changing your shoes may make a significant difference.
At LiveWell Pain Management in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, we take a more holistic approach to pain. Our physical medicine and interventional pain management physician, Dr. Nora Taha, understands how body mechanics and your choice of footwear may contribute to your pain.
Here, we talk about knee pain and how your shoes may be making your pain worse.
Mechanics of your knee
Your knee is a modified hinge joint that gives you the ability to bend, straighten, and rotate your leg. This is how you stand, walk, and pivot. The joint itself is made up of three bones — the tibia, femur, and patella — held together by ligaments, muscles, and tendons with cartilage in between the bones for cushioning.
It’s a complex joint that relies a lot on connective tissue for movement and support. Pivot too much or jump with too much impact and you may injure your knee, overstretching a ligament (sprain) or damaging the cartilage.
Your knees are weight-bearing joints that support your upper body when you stand and walk. Your feet, ankles, hips, and back are also weight-bearing joints. If your feet aren’t able to fully support your body weight, the extra stress may land on the knees, resulting in pain.
Structure and function put your knees at high risk for injuries and conditions that cause pain.
Shoes and knee pain
It’s not just your feet that support your body weight, but your shoes too. The type of shoe you wear affects the amount of impact your knees feel with every step. Wearing the wrong shoes increases the impact, worsening your pain.
Though high heels are the least supportive for your feet and knees, they’re not the only type of shoe that causes knee pain. Any shoe that raises your heel more than two inches changes the mechanics of your body, shifting more weight onto your knees. This includes walking and running shoes.
Good shoes for knees
When looking for shoes to ease your knee pain, choose footwear that has a low heel (less than an inch) and allows your foot to move as naturally as possible. For many, this means a flat, flexible shoe.
But there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to shoes and knee pain. A lot depends on the mechanics of your foot and how it affects movement and stress on your knee, along with your other body parts.
If you’re looking for simple ways to reduce your knee pain, like changing the type of shoe you wear, we can help. Call our office today or request an appointment online to set up a consultation with Dr. Taha.