Wide Shoes For Swollen Feet: Expectations vs Reality
Nobody likes to end the day throbbing feet. But if you have feet that tend to swell with pregnancy, edema or other conditions like diabetes, you already know how shoes that feel comfortable in the morning can be painful by the time you’re able to take them off in the evening. Finding wide shoes for swollen feet is a challenge for many, especially if you are looking for stylish footwear that is also comfortable and practical.
Buying wide shoes for swollen feet
If you know your feet swell during the day, you want to find shoes that fit comfortably. A shoe that pinches or squeezes your feet can cause more irritation and lead to blisters and other foot related injuries. Your feet take a beating every day, even without pinching them into shoes that are too small or that don’t support your feet properly.
To try and fit their feet well, many individuals look for wide shoes for swollen feet. They shop traditional styles from traditional brands and look for extra wide men’s shoes for swollen feet. Or perhaps extra wide women’s shoes for swollen feet. Anyone who has walked into a traditional shoe shop and asked about ultra wide shoes swollen feet that can be worn comfortably already knows how futile this search can be.
Sure, manufacturers make wide widths in many of their shoes. But sometimes wide isn’t wide enough, especially if you’re specifically looking for shoes for swollen feet versus shoes for a traditional wide foot.
Wide feet versus swollen feet
A wide foot is a foot where the bones within the foot, coupled with the muscle and tendons and other layers, have come together to be wider than the industry norm. While all feet swell over the course of the day, a wide foot starts out wide in the morning and remains wide all day, perhaps swelling a quarter or a half size over the course of a long day.
A swollen foot, on the other hand, doesn’t have a width determined by the bone structure within the foot. In a swollen foot, the width of the foot is actually determined by fluids in the foot. Fluids pool in the feet over the course of the day and feet can grow in volume between the morning and the night. If you lose fluids again or in some cases, prop your feet up for an extended period of time, the swelling in your feet can go down again, bringing your foot back to a more traditional width.
In short, a wide foot will stay wide. A swollen foot is not always swollen to the same size and width on a daily basis.
This is why trying to buy extra wide women’s shoes for swollen feet or extra wide men’s shoes for swollen feet doesn’t work as well as we would like. Sure, they look good and might even feel good when you try them on, but what happens when your foot swells more or loses some of the accumulated fluid? Suddenly that wide shoe is too narrow or perhaps even too big. That is a very awkward problem to be facing while at work or on the go.
Swelling in the feet, ankles and legs
If you’ve ever faced edema, perhaps as a side effect of your diabetes or during pregnancy you know that edema, or swelling caused by fluids, does not confine itself to the sides of your feet. Edema does not simply make your feet wider. It makes them fuller all around, particularly on the top and around the ankles
Your feet essentially expand in all directions. This means even a comfortable wide shoe might squeeze your feet in a different direction. Your foot may become too tall as fluid builds up in your arches. You might not be able to lace your shoes or even get your foot in or out of the shoe easily.
And swelling doesn’t confine itself to your feet. If you are suffering from swelling in your feet, you are likely also suffering from fluid build up and swelling in your ankles and calves. Shoes aren’t a one dimensional product. The fit of your shoes can be affected by your foot changing sizes in every direction, but your shoes can also be affected by the shape and size of your ankles and caves as well.
A swollen ankle can rub across the top of your shoes and create blisters and sore spots. Boots, even those with wide calves or laces often do not fit over swollen calves or cause restrictions in circulation over the course of the day as the leg grows inside the boot, and the boot doesn’t conform to your calf’s new shape.
It might seem like the best solution to finding shoes for swollen feet is to simply wear flip flops or slippers every day, all day. Or perhaps to fill your closet with wide shoes that fit some of the time. Flip flops and slippers do not provide much needed support. Making do with shoes that have zero support or simply surviving the day in unprofessional footwear isn’t a real solution to the problem.
Buying wide shoes, even soft ones or shoes with plenty of extra room just creates a different problem. Your shoes are too big in the morning and possibly too small by the time you get home and can take them off. Shoes that are too big and shoes that are too small can cause any number of serious problems for your feet.
Dangers from wearing the wrong shoes for swollen feet
Wearing the wrong size shoes, either too big or too small, can lead to serious consequences for both men and women. This isn’t just a “fashion is painful” argument – this is a matter of health and safety. If you wear the wrong shoe size, you’re facing some serious potential issues including the following common risks.
A shoe that is too tight or too loose will rub incorrectly on your foot and can cause blisters. Blisters can also be caused by a shoe that is too stiff and lays incorrectly against your foot. Sometimes you can prevent blisters with socks, but wearing a thick sock with your shoes can lead to even tighter, more uncomfortably footwear.
- Fall risks
Wearing a shoe that is too long can create a tripping hazard. Many people who have swelling have had to settle for sizing up by 1 or 2 sizes to get their feet in. Poorly fitting shoes can make you shuffle your feet instead of walking normally. This can be a problem if you’ve taken to wearing slippers or flip flops most of the time instead of traditional footwear to try to find comfortable shoes for swollen feet. A loose shoe also fails to provide support and can become at tripping hazard in its own right. If your foot shifts inside your shoe, you can easily trip yourself or even fall off of your own shoe, hurting yourself in the process.
- Foot ulcers
If you have diabetes you may be more prone to foot ulcers that are caused by ill fitting shoes on swollen feet. Any abrasions or skin disruptions can be very serious for diabetics. The shoes press in on the increasing swollen feet and rub, creating sores that eventually become open wounds, or ulcers. Wear the shoes longer or over multiple days and the foot ulcers can worsen, creating significant pain and making it hard to walk at all. Peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes and can result in numbness of feet. This can accelerate other problems like frequent tripping.
Any open wound is subject to bacteria, especially when the wound is near sources or bacteria like dirt. Having open wounds on your feet caused by blisters or foot ulcers serve as an invitation for bacteria and subsequent infections.
If you tried shoes for swollen feet that still didn’t fit correctly, you may wind up with open sores. To prevent infection, keep these sores clean and covered so that they can heal. This can be difficult if your shoes are creating additional sores. Open wounds require medical attention. Please see a doctor.
- Claw and hammer toes
Remember that it is not just the width of your foot that swells, it’s all of the foot, including your toes. Cramming your foot into a wide shoe might force your toes into an uncomfortable vice as they swell throughout the day.
Scrunched up toes are not good for you, and over time they can take on an unnatural appearance and become painful claw or hammer toes. Your toes need room to spread out in your shoes, especially since they spread naturally when you walk and help maintain balance.
- Ingrown toenails
Another condition caused by squeezing your toes into shoes that wind up too small by the end of the day are ingrown toenails. Your toenail is under pressure inside your shoe as well, and this can cause the toenails to grow incorrectly.
Often ingrown toenails require surgical or at least medical intervention that can be extremely painful as the doctor must “dig out” the toenail to remedy the problem. You can prevent ingrown toenails by cutting your toenails straight across, and by – of course – wearing shoes that fit properly.
- Corns and calluses
Calluses and corns, the hard build up of skin on your feet, are caused by shoes that create friction. You can easily build up a corn or callus wherever your shoe rubs in a repetitive way. You might develop corns on the sides of your feet and calluses can develop on the soles of your feet. While not painful in their own right, they can create additional fit issues with shoes for swollen feet.
A bunion is a bone deformity that is either hereditary or can also be caused by wearing shoes that are too tight. When shoes are too tight, it can exacerbate this problem. The bones in the foot are squashed together and eventually the big toe is pushed toward the other toes. When this happens, the bone at the base of the big toe is forced outward and a bump is created.
This bump of bone, or bunion, protrudes into the side of your shoe making your foot even wider and making shoes even more uncomfortable. Bunions can become painful and can sometimes require surgery to correct.
- Lack of mobility
Staying active, even moderately active, is required to remain healthy. If you can’t find shoes for swollen feet that are comfortable, you won’t be able to leave your home safely to get to work, to walk the dog, to drive to the store or take care of any of your responsibilities.
Finding the Right Shoes for Swollen Feet
So if buying wide shoes for swollen feet isn’t the right solution, what is? Feet need space to grow during the day, especially if you are dealing with edema and significant swelling in your legs, ankles and feet. Even if you buy ultra wide shoes, swollen feet can still wind up constrained and you can risk long-term damage. Wide shoes for swollen feet aren’t the answer. Adjustable shoes are.
You may be thinking that almost every athletic shoe or lace-up boot is an adjustable shoe, but those are not the right shoes for swollen feet. You can lace your tennis shoes more loosely, but that is only going to give the tops of your room more room – it doesn’t give you more room in the right places.
Feet that swell throughout the day are most comfortable in a shoe specifically designed to accommodate edema. These specialized shoes are not just wide shoes for swollen feet, they are made from stretch fabrics and contain adjustable features that can widen the shoe as needed throughout the day.
Adjustable stretch shoes for swollen feet are created to grow with your feet throughout the day. A combination of adjustable straps and laces coupled with discrete Velcro adjustment options allows you to enlarge your shoes with your feet as the day goes on. In the morning, when your feet have lost the swelling again, you can adjust the shoes down a size or two to fit again comfortably.
Stylish shoes for swollen feet
Slippers or house shoes might feel like comfortable shoes for swollen feet, but they aren’t an option you can wear to work or out socially. Some adjustable or stretch shoes resemble house shoes, but they don’t provide support..
There are stylish adjustable shoes for swollen feet as well. With neutral colors and stylish designs, you can buy adjustable, extra wide women’s shoes for swollen feet that are well constructed, high-quality and indistinguishable from other trendy shoe designs. The same is true for adjustable extra wide men’s shoes for swollen feet as well.
Unlike slippers or house shoes, a professionally designed and crafted adjustable shoe will fit correctly, protect your feet even as they swell throughout the day and offer you the necessary support to cushion your feet but remain solid for walking outside or inside hard-floored buildings. After all, walking without adequate support can lead to physical problems even greater than foot pain and blisters.
If you’ve been settling for ill-fitting wide shoes for swollen feet, know that you aren’t limited by traditional styles and designs. Swollen feet aren’t just wide feet. You need proper shoes for swollen feet, and that means shopping from companies that specialize in innovative designs created to protect sensitive feet and ankles while providing the flexibility and support you need to stay active all day long.
Also in Foot Freedom Almanac
Let’s face it, wearing compression can be really hard. Especially if you have a condition like lymphedema or lipedema that causes chronic swelling. Not wearing compression can be far worse! Avoiding or neglecting compression or treatment can put you further down the path of pain or debilitation.
Cara Cruz is a blogger, influencer, and mother. She promotes a body positive message and is a proud #lymphedemawarrior and #lipidemawarrior. Pandere is a big fan and we sat down to talk with Cara about her life and journey.