Is there such a thing as fibro shoes? Fibromyalgia and foot problems go together like running late to an appointment and hitting all red traffic lights on the way. Because of the systemic nature of chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, restless leg, and other autoimmune conditions, foot problems occur more frequently.
Today I’ll share a few of my own experiences that you may find relatable. I’ve done enough research over the past 20 years to have a good understanding of the source of many common foot pain issues. And, I’ve done my own (highly dedicated) research into finding the right shoes. 😉
Wanna explore more of this topic with me? After all, who doesn’t love shoes?
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Common Causes that Can Contribute to Chronic Foot Problems
While understanding the cause of your foot issues may not help you to eliminate the problem, sometimes it can help to improve it.
Being a 5-foot tall (or should I say “5-foot short?) individual, I started to wear heels as soon as I could find them for my little feet. I proceeded to wear heels every day for at least 25 years thereafter. I wore them absolutely everywhere including Disneyland, various parks, and other walking destinations.
Obviously, wearing heels all-day-every-day, is a terrible thing to do to our poor feet (not to mention our leg muscles, hips, and spine). I’ve dealt with muscle spasms on and off for the past 52 years (you can read more about that HERE including remedies) and I know that wearing heels for so long contributed to my ongoing problems.
Besides high heels, here are a few other issues to consider –
- Food sensitivities*
- Circulatory issues
- Muscle issues
- Repetitive movement injuries
- Wearing poorly fitting shoes
- Blood sugar issues (including diabetes)
- Weight issues
- Stress fractures
- Ankle sprains (soft tissue injuries)
Of course, these are just some of the contributing factors. Next, we’ll dig into a few details on one of these.
What We Eat Matters to Our Feet*
It may surprise you to see food sensitivities on this list. Interestingly, what we eat affects every part of our body. Foods that we’re commonly sensitive to (such as gluten, dairy, sugar, corn, caffeine, eggs, some nuts, MSG, etc.) can cause all sorts of symptoms besides obvious digestive upset. Headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, and joint pain are also common symptoms of food issues.
Have you heard of Gluten Thumb? For those who are sensitive to wheat/gluten, the pain may center around the large bone at the base of the thumb and/or the large bone at the base of the big toe. Other joints may hurt too, but the thumbs can be an early warning indicator that the “gluten-free” pizza you just ate wasn’t as gluten-free as you thought. Or, that the other ingredients in it triggered your gluten issues and your body’s response behaves as if it’s gluten. Either way – your thumbs can be a painful reminder of what to avoid.
Similar pain can occur with gout as well, so be sure to see a good functional medicine professional to ferret out your root nutritional issues. But even while figuring this out, foot discomfort can continue to be a real pain in the patootie.
What to Look for in Good Fibro Shoes
Foot problems come with a wide variety of diagnoses. You may deal with neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, bunions, corns, spasms, fractures, or other diagnosable conditions. Even though the conditions vary, there are some common similarities to the problem areas regarding shoes.
Considerations to look for when looking for shoes –
- Wide toe box (cramped toes don’t allow healthy circulation and may contribute to pain and spasms)
- Arch support
- Heel support and cushion
- Ball of the foot support and cushion
- Inserts that allow adjustments for different leg lengths
- Quality construction that provides overall support and strength
- Fit (must not rub or fit too snugly anywhere including over the top of the foot)
- Price (Shoes can be outrageously expensive and I’ll admit to spending more than I used to for good shoes. But life experience is a great teacher. I’ve suffered the great “cost” of wearing cheap shoes.)
My Favorite Fibro Shoes
The following list simply comes from my own closet. It’s from my own experience in the search for good shoes to help me with leg cramps and plantar fasciitis. Here are my top favorites of shoes that I actually own. (And, I am not compensated in any way for listing them here.)
OrthoFeet – I have a pair of Orthofeet tennis shoes and a pair of short boots. Both come with all the considerations listed above and I’ve worn them nearly every single day for the past 2 years. They’re my daily go-to shoes that I can count on to not add to my foot issues including spasms. I only wish they had more designs as I’d love creative options.
Clark’s – I own several pairs and while I can’t wear them every day, I find that they’re better than most and I can tolerate them for occasional wear. I love that they have great style options.
Merrell – I have a few pairs of their cute clogs and I can wear them occasionally. I also like their design options.
Dansko – I have a few pairs of their dress shoes and while I was really sold on them when I originally found them several years ago, I now find their shoes too heavy. Heavy shoes lead to toe, arch, and calf cramps for me, so I can only wear them for a short time. (But they’re stinkin’ cute!)
Skechers – These come with a BIG caveat. They don’t offer all the considerations listed above. In fact, they may have just a few. I have a pair of their well-constructed slippers and I’ve added my own arch support inserts to them and wear them daily. Skechers used to be my go-to for shoes too they were an inexpensive option to the more expensive brands listed above. But not so anymore. Their prices have soared. And, their “memory foam” cushions break down quickly making them a very temporary shoe for comfort. I haven’t tried their new arch-support varieties, but at the price point they offer, why wouldn’t I buy a better-quality shoe like the others listed above?
Keep in mind that soft, uber-squishy shoes may be comfortable (for a time) but they often don’t provide the long-term support your feet need. And, they don’t allow your bones to strengthen through the basic everyday impact that walking provides.
So … that’s the extent of the shoes I now wear. I know there are many other brands that are known to be good such as SAS, Birkenstocks, LuckyFeet, and Naturalizer, but I don’t personally own any. What about you?
What Shoes Do You Choose?
It’s your turn to share! I’ve listed my favorite shoes, and I’d love to hear about yours. Do you have a specific brand of sneaker, dress, shoe, or walking shoe that you like? Have you found pain relief with your shoe choices? I’d love to hear.
As with all of my healing posts, I encourage you to take action on what works for you. If you’d like guidance on this or any other health-related concern, I’d love to chat.
To finally get the support you’re looking for and start healing from the root level, go HERE. Let’s get started!