If you deal with chronic knee pain, choosing the right footwear is crucial to your comfort and mobility. You probably already know to stay away from cheap flip-flops (no support) and high heels (oh, the pain!). But what else matters when you’re shopping for shoes? Take a look at some important factors to consider when you want footwear that will help mitigate your knee pain.
Shoes that flex as you walk are more forgiving on your knees that rigid shoes that can force you into an uncomfortable stride. Try bending the toe of the shoe backward to test the flexibility before you buy it.
Low, Gradual Heel Height
The incline from the toe to the heel should be gradual and gentle if you want to protect your knees. And high heels (even platforms) are an absolute no-no, since they increase pressure on your knee by 23 percent compared to flats, increasing trauma to your kneecap.
Not all athletic shoes are alike, and different types of knee pain may respond to different shoe designs. In many cases, cross-trainers offer better knee support than running shoes and even walking shoes, because they offer lateral support that helps keep your knee from moving painfully from side to side.
Check the Soles
Your shoes’ soles matter before you buy — and it’s also important to check the soles of shoes you already own. Look for firm midsoles to keep your knee from rotating inward with every step, something that causes knee pain. And keep an eye on those soles. Once the tread starts to wear out, your heel starts to shift as you walk — which means your knee is shifting, too. No matter how fab those shoes look like on top, it’s time for a change.
Every time you step down, a little bit of shock travels up your leg to your knee. Soft, cushy shoes can absorb the impact to protect your knees. Good padding is especially important if you spend time walking on concrete or hard stone floors indoors. Yes, you can add padded insoles, but start with athletic shoes or other well-padded shoes for extra knee protection.
If you deal with chronic knee pain, you may want to head to a specialty shop where staff can examine your foot and your stride to make personalized recommendations. At ViscoGen™, we’re also happy to talk to you about mitigating your knee pain. Contact us to learn about our KneeVisc 5® program that minimizes pain and enhances mobility.