Shoes are designed to be functional (for sports, specific types of work, etc), trendy, stylish, and to complement your wardrobe. Unfortunately, in some cases, they could become a source for problems. If you make the wrong choice, especially for shoes that you wear on a regular basis, you may be in for a world of hurt later on. Can shoes cause knee pain? Keep reading to find out.
Can Shoes Cause Knee Pain?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. When you wear the wrong type of shoes, they put an excessive amount of stress on the cartilage, ligaments, and kneecap, which then causes wear and tear of the knee joints and the surrounding areas. Why is that? Before we get into that, it’s important to understand the basic anatomy of the knee.
First, you have the femur or thighbone and the tibia which is found in the lower leg and these form the hinge joint in the knee. There are also shock absorbers between the two bones and many ligaments connecting the two bones. When you have a proper alignment of the bones, it evenly distributes pressure throughout the structures that support the knee joint. But if the bones become misaligned, some structures receive more pressure than others. The type of shoes you wear can change the position of your feet, and this affects the position of the knee joints, causing either more comfort or more pain. For more information on this subject, we invite you to watch the following video:
Shoes That Could Be Causing Your Knee Pain
One of the most common types of shoes that promote improper knee joint alignment are high heels. These are notorious for exerting excess stress on the knee joints. While you may feel or look great walking in those high heels, you may be doing considerable damage to your knees.
High heels increase the amount of stress inside your knee joints, according to a study published in the Journal of Orthopedic Research in March 2015. The higher the heel, the greater the stress on the knee joints. Walking in heels can change the position of the femur, leading to pain in the knees. It can also lead to inflammation of the tendons in the knee, known as tendinitis, causing pain in the knees. For more information, have a look at the following video:
Clogs are also a common type of shoe that causes knee problems. Many people wear clogs (see image bel0w every day because they are marketed as supportive shoes. However, clogs are rigid in design which reduces the natural movement of the feet. The reduced movement of the feet places excessive stress on the inside of the knee joints, potentially causing knee pain. If you are going to invest in clogs, make sure they are not low-quality clogs.
The wrong type of athletic shoes – A wide variety of athletic shoes are available on the market, and they all serve different purposes. You need to be alert when buying a pair of athletic shoes as the chances of injury increases dramatically when you use the wrong type of athletic shoes for a sport or outdoor activity, potentially resulting in knee pain and other types of sport-related injuries. For example, stability shoes reduce the foot movement, increasing the stress inside the knee joints as you walk and causing pain. Minimalist shoes provide more flexibility and allow you to move your feet more naturally.
There are many types of shoes that can cause discomfort and knee pain, but the type of shoe that causes knee pain may differ from one person to another, which makes it hard to pinpoint. Nevertheless, try to avoid high heels, and keep your use of pumps to the barest minimum as they have been proven to increase stress on the knees. When choosing shoes, look for well-cushioned brands, shoes with firm soles, and you may also try athletic shoes as long as you buy and wear the ones designed for the type of activity you are doing.
Another thing to keep in mind is try to avoid shoes that are either too tight (which can cause you to limp because of foot pain) and avoid shoes that are too loose since they may change or impair your gate over longer periods of time. If you get your footwear right, you may never have to worry about knee pain.
Updated on 2019-12-15 – Updated to include a link to the video above.
Disclaimer – We aren’t doctors here at SimplyJnJ. We simply provide information on topics (such as the one above, on “Can Shoes Cause Knee Pain?” that we think would be valuable to our reader. Always consult a doctor whenever you are experiencing any type of pain.
4 thoughts on “Can Shoes Cause Knee Pain?”
Flip flops are the worst for me. I love wearing them but I can definitely feel it in my knees if I wear them too long.
Thanks for the comment Jenny. Agree… flip flops are definitely not a good choice if you have knee problems. Best to avoid them altogether if you can. Tough to do in warm weather, but your knees will thank you. 🙂
Would inserts help with knee pain from shoes with no “give
Well, some studies have found that inserts don’t provide much benefits, while others do. I think it comes down to the individual person and what is causing their knee pain (i.e.: arthritis versus meniscus issues, etc.). I know that Dr Scholl’s has a specific series of inserts designed specifically for knee pain (called “Dr. Scholl’s KNEE Pain Relief Orthotics”) and people are leaving some very good reviews about them. Might be worth a try.