As much as we try to find the shoes or orthotics that are going to solve our foot pain, we need to consider how much they are contributing to the problem. Almost every shoe has some form of an elevated heel that forces the foot, knee, hip and low back to be in a compensated position. By lifting our heel off the ground, we lose the length of the muscles on the back of the lower leg and their tendons. (Achilles tendon and plantar fascia) Once these structures begin to lose their length the friction on the bones of the feet will cause irritation. Another issue is the combination of shoes and only walking on flat surfaces leads to weakness of the intrinsic muscles of the foot.
Your toes were designed to splay outwards as your foot hits the ground. You’ll see your toes have moved inwards over time to accommodate for the shape of your shoes. This has led to endless amounts of diagnoses such as “bunions” and “hammer toe”. Think about someone who has worn a cast for a month, just like shoes the affected area becomes stiff, weak, and shaped to the cast. We can’t ditch the shoes completely but we can do things to re-shape our feet and work with their biological design. Maintaining both the mobility and stability of the foot will allow us to support our body on top of the structures that are designed to do so.