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Published on May 03, 2022

worn tread on tennis shoes

4 Signs Your Shoes Are Worn Out

Don’t let pain, especially in your feet and ankles, hold you back The fix could be as easy as buying a new pair of shoes.

The joint, muscles, tendons and ligaments that make up our feet and ankles are a complicated system that needs to work together every time you take a step, run or jump. One of the easiest and most important things you can do to prevent or help decrease foot pain is wearing good shoes. You need good shoes any time of year, but before vacation can be a good time to take stock.

Podiatrist Jeffrey Domingue, DPM, Avera Orthopedics Sioux Falls, offers four tips to consider.

Check Your Tread

Like the tires on our trucks and cars, it’s important to notice tread-wear on your shoes. Worn tread won’t give you the traction you need – whether you’re a child or adult.

If the inside of your heel tread or your big-toe area is worn out, it could be a sign of a flat-foot condition.

“Poor-fitting shoes can lead to uneven use of the soles of your shoes, and that irregular surface can make existing conditions or injuries worse,” said Domingue.

Inspect the Insides of Each Shoe

Uneven wear patterns in the material inside your shoe could indicate a foot/ankle condition, or it could be something that leads to one, such as plantar fasciitis. Overuse causes a ligament in the arch of your foot to weaken, especially without proper footwear. Excessive wear, especially on the inside edges and in the toes area, can show that’s happening.

Worn-out padding in the ball of the foot could indicate a number of foot problems including falling arches.

Check the back of the shoe that wraps around your ankle. Your heel should not slide around; if it does, it could lead to a lack of stability that could cause an ankle sprain.

Check Your Tops and Laces

Do you notice any tears over the toes or on the sides of your shoes? If the material is tearing in the toes, your shoes could be too small. Our feet change as we age, so you might try a half-size larger to accommodate those changes in joints and spreading that comes with aging. “If shoes seem to be too loose, for the health of your feet, you might want to get something new,” said Domingue.

Take a Look from the Back

Set your shoes on a table: are they sitting tall and straight? If they’re leaning to one side, they’re no longer stabilizing your foot. “Even a small space below the heel of your shoe, such as the size of a pencil, could mean they’re not doing their work as foot and ankle stabilizers,” he said.

Here are a few more tips as you get moving:

  • You should get new shoes once or twice each year.
  • If you run, work outdoors or spend a lot of time on trails, consider getting new shoes more often.
  • If you get new shoes because of foot pain, give them a few weeks. If the pain persists, get some help with it.

Avera’s foot and ankle experts can help when pain persists.

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