5 Tips How to Prevent Foot Pain

By Steven Gershman DPM  /  September 13, 2023 Blog Home

I'm writing to you because I want you to forget how foot pain feels... Eventually.

If you cut your foot or bump your knee, there's no need to guess where the trouble is or how to treat it.

But foot pain can be caused by a huge number of reasons. This is why I will be sending out (about every week or two) useful tips on how to prevent or reduce foot pain.

At first, I'll focus on five most basic tips.

Some of them you may know, some may be a bit more surprising. Or you could know them all if you've been fighting foot pain for a long time or if you're serious about foot comfort.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, about 75% of Americans will experience foot pain at some point in their lives. The pain can range from mild to severe, and it may last a short time or be an ongoing issue. Fortunately, many measures can help relieve foot pain.

The following tips will help you to either reduce foot or heel pain that you already may have developed or they can also help prevent your from having issues develop.


STRETCH! - The most important thing to do to help reduce pain and also prevent pain is to stretch your foot and ankle regularly. See the stretching exercises below for some ideas. This is the most important one and if you do nothing else then (please!) at least do some streches. Preferably regularly.

Here are a few basic ones:

Passive Stretch for Ankle
Gently grasp foot and bend ankle and foot up and down. Hold 30 seconds.

Ankle stretch
Passive Stretch for Toe Flexion / Extension
Gently grasp big toe and straighten it to feel stretch in bottom of foot. Hold 20 seconds.
Ankle stretch
Stretching for Calf Muscle w/ Straight Knee
Stand with right foot back, leg straight, forward leg bent. Keeping heel on floor, turned slightly out, lean into wall until stretch is felt in right calf. Hold 30 seconds. Complete on opposite leg also.
Ankle stretch


2. Don't go barefoot

Don't go barefoot. It puts a strain on your foot and can lead to plantar warts and athlete's foot.

Flip-flops are a good choice to protect your feet in locker room showers, pool areas, and the hot sand at the beach. But use them rarely. You want to avoid flat footwear.

Flat flip-flops or shoes can cause heel pain, tendinitis, and stress fractures, especially if you have flat feet.

3. Choose comfortable, roomy, well-cushioned shoes

Having enough breathing room for your feet or toes is essential. You need comfort and space, not cramped shoe and squeezed feet.
If you choose Orthofeet shoes you can choose width that fits your feet: from narrow to extra extra wide. No need for squashed feet.

4. Unexpected reason - toenails

Fully 65% of people age 65 and older have thick toenails, making it one of the most common foot problems. Once nails thicken, they can even separate painfully from the toe bed. The prime culprit is athlete's foot, or tinea pedis, which can hang out in your shoes for years before causing symptoms.

A major source of foot pain is ingrown toenails, which happen when the edge of your nail grows into the skin around the toe. The best way to prevent this is to cut your toenails straight across with clean, sharp nail scissors. Don't round the corners to match the shape of your toe.

5. Avoid high heels

It should go without saying but I'll say it anyway - avoid high heels. Always. (Or at least almost always!)

A 5-inch spike heel isn't going to do anybody any good. It forces all the weight to the front of the foot and will cause pain. High heels also put you on the fast track to bunions, corns, and other problems.

If you love heels, try a shorter one. A two-inch heel is better than a four-inch heel. Don't wear them every day, and don't wear them when you will be on your feet for a long time. Choose chunky heels instead of skinny ones if you have flat feet.

So these are the basic tips. I'll have more in my next email.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about foot pain or shoes, just reply to this email and I'll try to have your questions answered for the next time.