Are Your Shoes Causing Your Ankle Pain?

Do you notice pain and swelling around your ankles after a long day? Your shoes might be responsible for your ankle pain. When you exercise or work, your shoes should provide a stable and supportive platform that aligns your ankles with your body, minimizing strain on your ankle joints, tendons, and muscles.

Let’s take a look at how your shoes might be causing pain in your ankles and the steps you can take to prevent the issue from recurring.

The Ankle’s Anatomy

The ankle is a joint consisting of three bones:

●  The tibia, aka your shin bone

●  The fibula, a thinner bone next to the shin bone

●  The talus, aka your foot bone 

And the ankle’s three joints:

●  The ankle joint, which allows the foot to move up and down

●  The subtalar joint, which allows the foot to move sideways

●  The tibiofibular joint, which plays a stabilization and weight-bearing role

The right shoe will support and protect the foot and ankle joints, along with fibrous tissue bands, such as the Achilles tendon. 

Why Can Your Shoes Cause Ankle Pain?

Common causes of ankle pain include: psoriatic and septic arthritis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis. However, in many cases, ankle pain simply results from wearing the wrong shoes. You might experience ankle pain if:

●  Your tight-fitting shoes put stress on your ankle joints, causing inflammation.

●  Your shoes are loose-fitting, increasing the stress on your tibiofibular joint.

●  You have an ankle sprain due to unstable high-heeled shoes.

●  You have flat feet, and your shoes don’t provide sufficient arch support.

How to Choose the Right Shoe to Prevent Pain

When buying new shoes, ensure that they provide you with sufficient support, especially in the arch and around your ankles. High-heeled shoes should have a rigid midsole and heel.

The inside of your shoes should also have sufficient cushioning to reduce stress on your muscles and tendons. Buy shoes that fit perfectly. Don’t walk out of the store with tight- or loose -fitting kicks.

If you’re not sure about which shoes to choose to relieve ankle pain, you can consult with our physical therapist to find out which shoes are right for you.

Sports Physical Therapy and Other Treatment Options for Ankle Pain

In most cases, changing the shoes you wear is an effective way to alleviate discomfort and pain. However, if you wore unsupportive shoes for too long, stress on your ankle might have resulted in joint wear and tear, arthritis, or stress fractures. The most effective treatments for ankle pain, stiffness, and swelling include:

●  Physical therapy, such as weight flexion, inversion, and isometric contraction exercises.

●  Pain and anti-inflammatory medications.

●  Ankle immobilization using a cast.

When to Schedule Physical Therapy

If your shoes are the cause of your ankle pain and you start wearing a different pair, the pain should subside. However, if the pain persists you should schedule an examination. 

At Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance, we can provide you with ankle pain treatment regardless if it was brought on from wearing ill-fitting shoes or from a previous injury. Contact us today at (510) 338-7283 for Oakland office, (515) 985-2997 for Des Moines office and (619) 354-7036 for San Diego office to schedule an appointment at our offices in Oakland, Des Moines, San Diego.


Dr. Ben Bagge

Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance

"We Help Active Adults & Athletes Get Back To Workouts and Sports They Enjoy without surgery, stopping activities they love, or relying on pain medicine."
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