The Right Footwear for Minimizing Joint Pain

What do you look for when you select a new pair of shoes? Do you look for a specific brand, color, style or fit? These criteria can be important, but they should be low on the list for arthritis sufferers.

Nearly 40 million people in the United States have arthritis, a degenerative condition that affects the joints. Arthritis gradually wears away joint cartilage, allowing the bones to painfully rub against one another. Nearly any joint can be affected by arthritis, but it is most commonly seen in the weight-bearing joints such as the spine, hips, knees and feet.

There are several treatments that can help minimize arthritic joint pain, and choosing proper footwear is one of them. Use these criteria when shopping for your next pair of shoes to help alleviate sore joints:

Firm Midsoles

Shoes with firm midsoles counteract overpronation, the tendency to roll the foot inward when walking. This rotation places undue stress on the knees, which can be particularly problematic for arthritis sufferers. If you are unsure whether or not you overpronate, take a look at the soles on an old pair of shoes you own. Overpronators will have excessive wear on the inner sides of their soles.

Cushioning

Shoes that are well-cushioned aren’t just more comfortable; they are an excellent option for relieving joint pain. Cushioned shoes act as shock absorbers, which can prevent impact from traveling to the knees.

Athletic Features

Running shoes are often the best shoes for arthritis patients because they are specifically designed to be supportive and comfortable. Look for features like firm heel cups, arch supports and medial posts.

Corrective Inserts

For additional balance, support and control, you may need to add corrective inserts to your new pair of shoes. Ask your doctor what type of inserts he or she recommends for your particular joint issues (Source: EverydayHealth).

In addition to choosing the right pair of shoes, you should also avoid certain types of footwear that can aggravate joint pain. These include:

  • Flip-flops
  • High heels
  • Flats
  • Strappy sandals
  • Boots

Wearing proper footwear is an important part of keeping joints healthy and pain free. The next time you go shopping for a new pair of shoes, look for features that will give you the perfect combination of structure, support and comfort. Your feet (and your other joints) will thank you!