Podiatrist (Foot and Ankle Specialist) Questions foot pain

Why do my feet hurt when I wear flats or heels?

I am a 34 year old woman and after having my second child, I have a weird problem. I am unable to wear both heels and flats as it causes too much pain in my heels and ankles. What are the factors I should keep in mind when picking my footwear? What could be the cause of this heel pain?

10 Answers

Is the pain at the back of the heels or bottom of the of the heels. You could have Achilles tendinitis (if at back of heel) or plantar fasciitis ( if at bottom of the heel).
Wearing shoes that are too flat can cause strain and tension on plantar fascia (ligament band that goes from heel bone to balls of the feet). And if you wear high heel shoes a lot, then wearing flats could also pust strain or tension on Achilles tendon because of shortening of the Achilles tendon due to constant high heel use.
There are many causes for heel pain. One of the most common is plantar fasciitis. The rest shoe gear for this would be a supportive shoes such as a running shoe or an athletic shoe.
Your shoes may be the problem. Shoes with no support and that are worn down can be very painful. You should also consider the age of the shoe; if you have been wearing them over one year, it is time for a change. Weight can also contribute to foot pain, especially in the heels; it’s called plantar fasciitis, or heel spur syndrome. An evaluation by a podiatrist is recommended.
The cause of your heel pain is plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. This cause by tight Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.

1. Stretching exercises. Exercises that stretch out the calf muscles help ease pain and assist with recovery.
2. Avoid going barefoot. When you walk without shoes, you put undue strain and stress on your plantar fascia.
3. Ice. Putting an ice pack on your heel for 20 minutes several times a day helps reduce inflammation. Place a thin towel between the ice and your heel; do not apply ice directly to the skin.
4. Limit activities. Cut down on extended physical activities to give your heel a rest.
5. Shoe modifications. Wearing supportive shoes that have good arch support and a slightly raised heel reduces stress on the plantar fascia.
6. Custom made orthotic.

Please go see podiatrist near your home for further evaluation of your heel pain.
Heel pain is so common, especially after pregnancy where the ligaments stretch out. With two kids your feet need to be in top shape and this is a very treatable condition. Stop walking barefoot and try to wear a wedge and change your shoes every couple of hours.
It could be a structural problem with your feet causing soft tissue tightness where it attaches to the heel from the leg to the heel and/or from the arch to the attachment on the heel.
Often after having a child, women complain of foot pain and even changes in the shape of their feet. Hormones that prepare a women's body for child birth also effect the soft tissue. Often extremes in shoe gear such as high heels, flats can be painful. I would recommend a supportive shoe, though i realize that this isnt always desirable. I would also recommend discussing this with your podiatrist and look at shoe gear alternatives. I would also recommend you bring some of your shoe gear in with you to be evaluated.
The majority of cases with regards to heel pain relate to a condition known as plantar fasciitis. There are many reasons to get overuse fascioapthies and tendinopathies of the foot and ankle. This can be related to environmental factors such as foot wear and activities. Increased body weight can also play a significant role particularly when it
comes to lower extremity musculoskeletal conditions. Obviously, there is always concern regarding potential medical disorders such as different types of arthritis that may present with this type of discomfort. I have found moderation in everything seems to be the answer. Excessively high-heeled shoes as well as poorly supportive slip on flat shoes tend not to do well. A slight wedge can always be beneficial and can be achieved with many types of clogs as well as good walking shoes or running shoes with a
heel lift. We encourage stretching exercises particularly for the posterior leg muscle groups of the calf that are readily identified as runners wall lean stretches and foot dorsiflexion stretch exercises. If these modifications and exercises are done and pain relief is not achieved, then an evaluation by a qualified medical specialist would be a reasonable consideration.
You're added weight during pregnancy could be a factor. You could have developed tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. When purchasing shoes keep in mind something with a good arch support. Also, getting a custom pair of orthotics could be beneficial in reducing stress on your ankles and heel.

Jonathan M. Kletz, D.P.M.
Thank you for your question. The most common reasons patients suffer from heel pain is biomechanical in nature. Patients with a high arch, low arch and tight calfs and tendons (equinus) are particularly susceptible. The also see heel pain in people who have had a recent fluctuation in weight, a recent change in activity level or have an overuse injury.

As far as shoegear I normally recommend a good supportive anti-pronation shoe. An example is brooks anti-pronation shoes but there are many good brands. I also recommend OTC vs custom orthotics. I would avoid any shoes that cause pain in your heel and ankle during the acute inflammatory stage of your injury. Please call the offIce if you would like additional information. I hope I answered your question and goodluck.