The Surprising Reason Your Feet Always Hurt

If your feet are in constant pain, you're not alone. More than 75 percent of American adults who were surveyed by the American Podiatric Medical Association reported suffering foot pain at some point. While foot pain may be common, it isn't necessarily unavoidable. In fact, a lot of foot pain stems from a surprising reason that can easily be addressed.

It turns out that a lot of people are simply wearing shoes that don't fit them. According to a study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, "between 63 and 72 percent of participants were wearing shoes that did not accommodate either width or length dimensions of their feet." The study also found that wearing shoes that don't fit properly can lead to foot pain.

As Neyla Lobkova, D.P.M. told Good Housekeeping, wearing shoes that fit correctly can "reverse damaging effects and adequate support, stabilize, and realign the body."

How do you know if your shoes fit properly?

Not sure if your shoes fit properly? "Step into baby powder and walk across a piece of dark construction paper," recommended Lobkova. "The outline of the bottom of the foot will have a thin profile on someone with a higher arch — whereas a wider footprint suggests a flat foot type." Compare your shoe to the outline of your foot to see if they match up. If they don't, you need new shoes.

Foot pain can also be caused by wearing the wrong kind of shoe. Different shoes provide different support. Wearing sandals or walking shoes on a hike, for example, is something you don't want to do. "The shoes you choose must be aligned with the specific activity or requirement," said George Holmes, M.D. He added, "Tight or pointy women's shoes are for situations that don't require significant walking or standing throughout the workday — and patients with bunions will require shoes with extra room in the toe box."

When you do go shopping for shoes, Anne Sharkey, D.P.M. said you should go at the end of the day, when your feet are at their most swollen. This, she said, will "ensure a comfortable fit at all times."