Close this search box.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Julie Tashner, Physical Therapist, Southwest Health

Do your feet tend to ache by the end of the day? You’re not alone if you constantly try new shoes and rub your sore feet at night. Most people say their feet hurt throughout the day. While some should seek professional care for concerns or problematic foot conditions, simple steps can alleviate most pain.

Aching feet can finally relieve by simply changing your shoes! One of Southwest Health’s Physical Therapists, Julie Tashner, shares her insight into picking the right shoe for you! Continue reading to pick up a few of Julie’s tips.


As a physical therapist, I evaluate and treat patients for musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, integumentary, and nervous system dysfunctions that can cause pain, weakness, or limitations to activity. It is no surprise that feet can be a factor involved in our overall tolerance to exercise. As a physical therapist, I educate patients frequently about the importance of appropriate shoe wear and how shoes may affect your feet, legs, joints, and other body parts.


Physical therapists may also recommend you seek care from a podiatrist, orthopedist, or specialty athletic shoe store for more specific care of individualized foot care needs.


You can follow four general tips when buying new shoes or evaluating if you should donate a pair of your own. If your feet are hurting at the end of the day, consider the tips below to change up your shoe selection.


Function over fashion. Styles tend to sway our choice for a shoe purchase but to keep our feet in good shape, the function of the shoe needs to be at the forefront of our decision-making. With this in mind, do not buy shoes that need “breaking in” because shoes that do not fit may lead to an increased risk of developing painful foot and leg conditions such as blisters, bunion, hammer toes, neuromas, plantar fascia pain, tendinitis, shin splints, and other more complicated issues.  


Leave wiggle room. Attempt to find a shoe that allows roughly a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Wiggle your toes to ensure there is enough room because your foot needs to press forward to allow the roll-through movement of the foot when walking. This encourages vital blood flow, proper nerve function, a wider base for balance, and strong arch muscles in our feet. Please avoid tightness, as a tapered shoe squeezes our toes into a point. Finding a shoe with the proper room can be difficult as many shoe styles are too narrow for most feet.  


Seek support. You want a firm, supportive heel counter in the shoe. You can perform a test by pressing inward with your thumb or fingers as you hold the shoe in your hands. The material and design of the back of the shoe, or heel counter, should be firm to provide the structured support needed for the foot. The shoe’s sole is also recommended to provide protection and semi-rigid support. Hold the shoe and attempt to twist it with both hands. It should allow a small amount of “twist.” Adequate arch support in a shoe assists your foot’s natural arch in doing its job when the ground meets your foot as you stand and walk.


Go the extra step. If you need that additional support, consider inserts! Consider placing arch support inserts inside your shoe if you are on your feet consistently at home or work. This is especially helpful if your shoe does not provide adequate arch support.


By following the steps outlined above, you can finally get some relief for your feet! If you’re still having pain, a specialist can assist you. They can provide a personalized treatment plan to reduce discomfort.


Southwest Health’s Rehab Services is one resource that can bring you relief. Physical Therapists will work with you at any of Southwest Health’s convenient locations in Platteville, Cuba City, and Kieler. Making an appointment is easy. Call (608) 342-4748 to schedule an appointment and learn more about relieving pain.