How to Pick Walking Shoes when you Have Knee Pain

High heels and flip-flops are not the best footwear for walking. The wrong pair of walking shoes can cause injury to your knees, as you might be shocked.

Matt Minard DPT, an orthopaedic specialist and physical therapist with Carolinas Healthcare System, says "Your shoes influence the impact that your knees experience with every step." "The right shoes are the first line of defense in dealing with knee pain."

There are many different types of walking shoes. There are many options for how they cushion and provide support. The design also affects how the shoe feels and whether it creates pressure points on the foot, which can affect your walk and, in turn, worsen knee pain.

What works? While some shoes claim their extra cushioning and special insoles can ease knee pain, research shows these "enhanced" shoes might not be effective.

A 2016 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine studied 164 adults with knee osteoarthritis and found that there was no difference in knee pain between those who walked in enhanced shoes and those who wore regular walking shoes.

Minard asserts that "there is not one best brand." It's about the shoe you choose and how that shoes fits your feet.

Bryan Heiderscheit PhD, professor of orthotics and rehabilitation at University of Wisconsin Madison, suggests that a walking shoe may not be always the best choice.

Heiderscheit explains that rigid or stiff walking shoes could cause pain and interfere with your regular stride. A running shoe may offer greater flexibility and cushioning. If you have knee pain, you need to think beyond a stereotypical stiff leather walking shoe."

How to Choose Minard advises that you shop for your walking shoes in a specialist retail store. There, the staff will assess your foot structure, monitor your walk and offer recommendations according to your needs. For example, a shoe that is right for someone who has flat feet may not be the best for someone who has high arches.

Look for shoes with a high level of flexibility. Heiderscheit advises you to pick up the shoe and move your foot towards the laces. Good walking shoes must be flexible. A shoe that's hard to bend will restrict your foot, change your stride, and worsen knee pain.

Check the soles to see if there are any height changes between the toe and the heel. This shift should not be too obvious.

Minard explains that a shoe with a higher heel puts more pressure on the joint and affects the bend in the knee.

Stability shoes are walking shoes that have a rigid sole and thicker structure. This increases the strain on the knee when compared to walking barefoot, or using flexible sneakers with thin soles.

While flexibility and sole width are important considerations, comfort is what you should be focusing on when shopping for a walking boot.

Rajwinder Deu MD assistant professor of orthopaedics at Johns Hopkins University says, "Buy the shoe which fits you best." There are certain brands and styles that suit us best.

It may take several pair of shoes before you find the right one.

The Best Time to Shop Shoes should be worn in the evening so that they are more comfortable. You feet will swell all day, and they'll be at their biggest later in the afternoon. Take the same socks that you took on a walk. Walk around the shop in each pair. Pay close attention to the feel of each shoe.

Minard states that the right shoe is comfortable from day one. A walking shoe shouldn't be difficult to get into.

Did you find one that worked? Deu states, "Stick with them."

How often to replace them? Walking shoes are less likely to absorb force than running shoes and last longer. Heiderscheit claims that walking shoes should last at most 9 months.

Heiderscheit recommends looking at your soles to determine when you should replace your walking shoes. You could experience your feet shifting, which can put additional pressure on your knees. It's time to replace your shoes if you notice dimples on the sides or bottom of your soles, which is usually due to a loss in cushioning.

Heiderscheit explains that "shoes are an important part of the mechanics and movement of your stride." The wrong shoes can affect how you walk, and place more pressure on your knees. This makes the pain worse. Finding the perfect pair of walking boots is worthwhile.