Bad Knees: Which Shoes are Best?

Any knee surgeon will tell you the dangers of certain types of shoes, such as high-heels. Stilettos and shoes with heels place excessive force on your joints, making them the worst choice for patients with bad knees. With all of the footwear and shoe inserts on the market, it can be difficult to choose what’s best for your knee health.

Flat Types of Shoes

Though not for people who have balance problems or bad feet, flip flops and flat walking shoes place less stress on knee joints than shoes with any type of heel. Even shoes that are touted as providing cushioning or stability allow more impact to the knee than many flat types. When choosing a shoe like this, look for flexibility but also support. For example, sandals with multiple straps that hold the shoe firmly to your foot are often an excellent choice, since they lessen force incurred by the knee plus your toes aren’t straining to hold onto your shoe. In some cases, bare feet may be a better option than some shoes, though not always a practical choice! Your knee surgeon recommends avoiding shoes with any type of heel, even so-called “comfort” or wedge heels.

Athletic Shoes

Knee_SurgeonUse caution when selecting an athletic style of shoe, since many will have significant padding and gait-correcting inserts.  Those types of features are great for people who have plantar fasciitis or bad feet, but may cause additional burden on vulnerable knees. For best results, work with a footwear professional to pick the perfect pair to enhance your knee comfort. Since most athletic shoes have a shock absorption system of some sort, you’re likely to feel some improvement to your knee pain. If you are a runner with knee issues, it is especially important that you get shoes that fit correctly, are designed for running, and are made with high quality materials.

Your knee surgeon can send you off in the right direction for your footwear journey, but working with a footwear professional or an expert in shoe orthotics will help you find the right gear to protect your knees.

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