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Health Information Center

Reducing Your Risk of Foot Pain

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Reducing Your Risk of Foot Pain

General Guidelines

Basic foot care should include:

  • Washing the feet with soap and water every day
  • Drying the feet after they are washed
  • Not wearing socks that are too tight
  • Changing socks if they get wet
  • Trimming and filing toenails short and straight across
  • Wearing shoes that fit well and support the foot

Specific Guidelines

Here are some steps to lower the risk of foot pain:

Wear Shoes that Fit Well

Foot pain can be caused by wearing the wrong kind of shoes. Choose shoes for the activities that you do, such as running, walking, or tennis. People who do certain jobs may need to wear protective footwear.

Shoes should also feel comfortable right away without a breaking in period. Some things to look for in shoes are:

  • A cushioned midsole, a strong heel, and a flexible area at the ball of the foot
  • A wide toe box that is big enough to fit all toes
  • A half inch of space between the longest toe and the tip of the shoe

Women who wear high heels should choose ones that have a wide toe box, wide heels, and cushioned insoles. Time spent wearing high heels should be limited as much as possible.

Walk and Exercise the Correct Way

Proper posture when walking can help ease foot pain:

  • Keep the head and back in a neutral position
  • Relax the arms and let them swim at the sides
  • Step out on the heel, move forward with the weight on the outside of the foot, and push off the big toe

Lowering the Risk of Foot Pain from Diabetes

Some added steps to lower the risk of foot pain from diabetes include:

  • Following a diabetes care plan
  • Looking at the feet every day to check for signs of a problem
  • Using moisturizer on the feet, but not between the toes
  • Trimming nails carefully
  • Not treating foot problems at home, including corns and calluses
  • Wearing socks to bed to ease cold feet
  • Shaking out shoes before wearing them to make sure nothing is inside them
  • Keeping the feet warm and dry
  • Not walking barefoot, even at home
  • Not smoking
  • Getting regular foot exams

Lowering the Risk of Foot Problems in Childhood

Some steps to lower the risk of foot pain in children include:

  • Not forcing a baby to walk early
  • Having a baby wear socks or go barefoot inside to let the foot develop
  • Choosing walking shoes for children that are light, flexible, and breathable
  • Changing shoes as a child's feet grow
  • Wearing the right shoes when playing sports


  • Foot care 101. American Podiatric Medical Association website. Available at: http://www.apma.org/files/FileDownloads/myFEETFootCare101.pdf.
  • Foot complications. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: https://diabetes.org/diabetes/foot-complications.
  • Foot pain and problems. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/foot-pain-and-problems.
  • Foot pain in adults—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/foot-pain-in-adults-approach-to-the-patient.


  • Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.