Shoe Care & Comfort

Feet Hurt Due to Tight Shoes? Top 15 Ways to Reduce Pain Fast!

Foot pain can be debilitating, especially when it’s caused by uncomfortable shoes. Unfortunately, far too many people force themselves into the incorrect footwear that hurt the sides or rub against the top of the feet. Either they don’t want to waste their money, or they don’t want to give up on a pair they’ve been wearing for ages. Thankfully, you don’t have to deal with your feet hurting forever.

While the best thing to do is to buy shoes that fit properly, it’s important to take into account that feet can change in size and shape. If you purchase a new pair of shoes that are overly snug, there are things you can do to enjoy a custom fit. If you have an older pair that seems to have gotten tighter, your feet may have changed over the years. One technique that works incredibly well is using a shoe stretcher.

Not only can you adjust the length and width of your shoes, but you can take steps to help alleviate pain in the process. Distressed feet are something to take very seriously, and it shouldn’t be ignored for too long.

If you notice that your feet hurt from shoes that are too small, it could lead to other conditions. This includes things like calluses and toenail fungus. Don’t feel as though you have to live with the pain. But, you also don’t necessarily have to get a different pair of shoes.

How to Minimize Foot Pain Due to Tight Shoes

The effects of ill-fitting shoes can create big problems if ignored for too long. If you let the pain continue, you’ll experience more than just aching feet at the end of the day. We will explore fifteen different ways to eliminate that pain.

Keep in mind that these tips aren’t meant just to mask the discomfort from tight footwear. They should be used as real solutions to fight against the dangers of poorly-fitting shoes. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to reduce discomfort and avoid unpleasant foot conditions.

  1. Wear Open-Toed High Heels

High heels that pinch at the toe can cause corns, bunions, and calluses. If you keep your feet on them for too long, you may even experience numb toes. There are plenty of old cliches about what women go through for beauty, but high heels can be dangerous when they are too tight. They can even start to affect the Achilles’ tendon, and the nerves in your feet.

While the best thing to do is to make sure you purchase a pair of heels that fit properly, there are other steps you can take to protect yourself. One of the easiest ways to lower your risk of bunions, blisters, and calluses is to wear open-toed heels. These will pinch your toes together far less, and give them a chance to breathe. With less material for them to rub against, you can take pressure off areas that may otherwise become inflamed.

  1. Stretch Your Feet and Ankles

No matter the cause of your aching feet, stretching can usually help. It should also be a starting point or one of the first things you try to alleviate pain. Stretches don’t have to take long. Just a few minutes every day can have a big impact.

Some examples of good stretches to practice include:

  • Holding your foot gently and bending it up and down at the ankle for 30 seconds.
  • Grasping the big toe gently and straightening it – hold this position for 20 seconds.

You may find that certain stretches have more of an impact on you than others. Play around with various exercises until you find a few that help with your specific pain.

  1. Wear Shoes with Support

Going barefoot too often can put a strain on your feet. For some people, it can lead to plantar warts. The same goes for flat footwear, like flip-flops. While they are great for protecting your feet in public places, wearing them all the time can cause problems. These include things like tendonitis and heel pain.

If you’ve ever experienced these conditions or believe your pain could be from going barefoot, look for shoes that carry some ergonomic support. These can be especially helpful if you have to be on your feet all day. Orthopedic support can make a big difference in how your feet feel at the end of the day.

  1. Choose the Right Shoes

Are your shoes hurting your big toenail? Do you even notice your toes going numb sometimes? It’s likely due to the shoes you’re wearing. People who wear shoes that don’t fit properly can experience a lot of different foot problems, and aches and pains may be the least of them.

If your toenail hurts from tight shoes, it’s probably because it’s getting jammed into the toe of the shoe again and again. This problem is especially prevalent among athletes but can happen to anyone just by walking around.

Unfortunately, this problem can lead to things like athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, or even an ingrown toenail. Trauma to the nails can be extremely painful and difficult to treat if the problem is let go for too long. Choosing the right shoes for your individual needs is important. That includes making sure you have the right size, the right kind of support, and room to breathe. If you’re going to be on your feet all day, ask a professional which type of shoe would be best for you.

  1. Use a Stretching Device

Using the best shoe stretchers to stretch tight shoes is a great way to make yourself more comfortable. Shoe stretching devices such as the FootFitter Premium 2-Way device is a safe and effective way to give you the room you need. Wearing shoes that are too tight is one of the biggest causes of foot pain.

Shoe stretchers are designed to adjust your footwear to whatever size works best for you. This particular device works to extend the shoe’s length and width. It even contains ‘bunion plugs.’ So, you don’t have to worry about the material of the shoe rubbing against your skin and causing bigger problems. The FootFitter 2-way stretcher is made from high quality, durable material, so you can rely on it to make all your shoes more comfortable for years to come.

  1. Shoe Stretching Spray

Whether you choose to use a shoe stretching device or not, it may be worth it to invest in a shoe stretching spray. Shoe stretcher sprays, like the KIWI Select Universal stretching liquid, are designed to soften the material of your shoes. This makes it easier to use a device like the FootFitter stretcher. Or, you can simply use the spray and slip your foot into your shoes. After just a few hours, they should conform to the shape of your feet, offering more of a ‘custom’ fit.

Keep in mind that the best shoe stretching sprays typically work best on certain materials. These usually include things like leather, suede, and Nu-buck. If you have canvas shoes or sneakers, you may need to employ different methods to stretch them out safely.

shoes rubbing against the toenails

  1. Clip Your Nails Correctly

As we age, our nails naturally become thicker. Some conditions like toenail fungus can also cause thick, hard nails. Not only can thickening be unsightly, but it can also cause pain. In some cases, it can even cause the nail to separate from the nail bed. Ingrown toenails can also become a problem, where the edge of your nail grows into your skin surrounding the toe.

The best way to keep thick nails in check is to clip them properly. You may need to use a strong set of nail clippers for hard, thickened nails. Cut your nails straight across, not into a rounded shape that matches the toe. By keeping them well-trimmed and clean, you can lower your risk of infection and reduce pain caused by this problem.

  1. Get a Foot Massage

When we think of a relaxing massage, most people focus on their backs or necks. But, a foot massage can be equally relaxing and beneficial. It can help to improve circulation and reduce tension in the process. The best part? You can even give yourself a massage!

There are several different techniques you can try to give yourself the best foot rub possible. It all starts with finding a comfortable, relaxing sitting position. Sit in a comfortable chair and ‘cross’ your legs to rest your right foot on your left thigh. This will give you easy access to your foot without straining it.

Knead the muscles all over each of your feet, paying special attention to the toes. You can even gently pull them apart for an extra stretch. For an even deeper massage, try using essential oils or lotions.

Alternatively, you can try an electric vibrating foot massager to soothe your feet. These massagers combine vibration and rotating heads to give a deep, relaxing sensation every time. If you’re prone to achy, tired feet, a massage machine can be a great investment.

  1. Epsom Salts

When used in a foot soak, Epsom salts become absorbed through the skin. This allows them to reduce inflammation and ease muscle tension. There are many different soaks that already contain Epsom salts, but you can prepare one at home easily.

You’ll notice more than just pain relief when using these healing salts regularly. They also work as an exfoliant. It will help to heal your skin and even your toenails as you use it.

Epsom salts also contain both antifungal and antibacterial properties. They are often used by people who regularly experience different types of foot problems. If you’re struggling with toenail fungus or a bacterial infection, using an Epsom salt soak is a great solution.

You can either use these salts on their own or combine them in a soak with other natural ingredients, like essential oils. Not only is it a relaxing experience, but you’ll be healing different types of ailments on your feet in the process.

  1. Ice Pack

If you’re in a lot of pain and need quick relief, try using ice to ease the muscle tension in your feet. Sometimes, shoes can cause swelling and inflammation if they are too small. If you feel relief when you take them off, but still have pain, try ice to help the swelling go down.

An ice pack will temporarily ‘numb’ the nerve endings in your feet, so the pain should go away quickly. You can even gently massage an ice pack over the most painful areas of your feet to speed up the process.

Be sure not to use this method for more than ten minutes at a time. Keeping ice in one spot for too long can damage the nerves. This also isn’t necessarily a permanent solution. But, it is a quick way to allow your feet to feel better after taking off your shoes. Follow it up with one of the more long-term solutions listed in this article.

  1. Protect the Soles of the Feet

Shoes that are uncomfortable can often be remedied by using certain types of insoles that help to absorb shock and add a bit of extra padding. While there are different insoles for different purposes, many of them have the same problem: They wear out quickly or fall apart easily.

If you have a condition like plantar fasciitis or a lack of arch support, finding the right insoles can make a huge difference.

People who benefit most from insoles are usually on their feet for multiple hours a day. While solutions like soaks and massages can help their aching feet, it’s important to find a solution that treats the problem while it’s happening.

One of the best insoles on the market are the Superfeet Green Heritage Insoles. They won’t fall apart after several uses. They also fit in all different types of footwear. No matter why you’re on your feet for extended periods of time, they can work with your shoes.

Even if you don’t choose to use the Superfeet insoles, there are a few key things you should look for in a quality product. One of the most important is shock absorption. Make sure your insoles give you the right amount of support and can absorb the pressure from every step you take throughout the day. You can also get insoles that reduce foot odor.

  1. Lower Heel Height

If you wear high heels, one of the culprits causing pain could be the height of the heel itself. Even an inch can make a big difference in how your feet, ankles, and calves feel. The higher the heel, the tighter your calf muscles can become. This can cause cramping that spread throughout your feet.

If you don’t want to buy all new shoes to lower the height of your heel, consider alternating them. Don’t wear shoes with high heels each day, or alternate them from day to night. Even if the shoes fit properly and aren’t pinching other areas of the foot, you may not realize how impactful the height of the heel can be. Try a lower height for a few days, and see if you notice a difference.

  1. Elevate Your Feet

Nothing sounds better at the end of the long day than putting up your aching feet and relaxing with the Revitive Circulation Machine. But, there is more science behind that ‘method’ than you may realize! Elevate your feet at least once a day, for at least 20 minutes to help relieve pain.

Sitting down and raising your feet to a 45-degree angle works best. If you can, try to ‘exercise’ your toes during this time by moving them back and forth. This type of elevation helps with circulation and can get the blood flowing properly throughout your feet again. If you find that poor circulation is a continuing problem, here is some information on the best circulation booster machines.

  1. Peppermint Oil

There are essential oils that have benefits for the feet. Some natural oils, like tea tree oil, can help clear up infections and bacteria. Others can provide soothing, calming relief, lavender.

Peppermint oil is great for stimulating the muscles in your feet. This helps to improve circulation, reduce inflammation and relieves any skin irritation. These properties make it perfect for muscle aches. The smell of peppermint oil can also make you feel rejuvenated when used in a foot soak and can reduce the smell of foot odor overall.

Essential oils are usually completely safe to use as long as they are natural. However, you should dilute them somehow to make sure they don’t irritate your skin. Peppermint oil can be applied with some type of carrier (like olive oil). Or, it can be used in a foot soak with warm water. It only takes a few small drops for the oil to be effective and help soothe away your pain. By giving yourself a relaxing foot soak several times a week, you should find that your muscles start to loosen up quickly.

Additional essential oils that are great for foot health include:

  • Rosemary oil (helps with joint and muscle pain)
  • Eucalyptus oil (antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties)
  • Juniper oil (commonly used as a treatment for arthritis and swelling)
  • Thyme oil (relieves muscle cramps)

shoes that cause pain to the big toe

  1. Get Some Exercise

The right kind of exercise is important for your overall foot health. This doesn’t mean you need to participate in hours of grueling aerobic or cardiovascular activity. In fact, extremely active people need to be even more cautious of the health of their feet and toenails. Many times, athlete’s foot develops because of trauma to the toes.

But, exercising your foot muscles throughout the day can help to reduce cramping and muscle aches – even those caused by ill-fitting shoes. Some simple exercises you can perform throughout the day include:

  • Shaking out your feet when they feel cramped or ‘asleep,’ similar to what you would do with your hands in the same situation.
  • Change your stance throughout the day.
  • Sit in a chair and circle your ankles 10 times in one direction, then 10 times in the opposite direction.
  • Walk in place to avoid standing in the same spot for too long.

By keeping your feet and legs active throughout the day, you’ll boost your circulation and notice fewer aches and pains when you take your shoes off.

What If My Shoes Cause a Health Condition?

As stated above, ill-fitting shoes can do more than just cause pain and muscle aches. They can also cause things like blisters, bunions, and toenail fungus. If you believe you have one of these conditions because of your shoes, that specific condition should be treated before anything else.

Things like toenail fungus or even an ingrown toenail can take quite awhile to fully ‘heal.’ The best thing you can do in these situations is to focus on the condition itself before trying to alleviate pain overall. Chances are, the two will end up going hand-in-hand anyway.

How to Prevent Foot Pain from Tight Shoes

We hope this article has given you several ideas on how to deal with foot pain from your shoes. The best thing you can do is try to prevent this pain from the outset. That starts with finding the right shoes in the right size for the right activities.

If your current shoes are too small and causing problems, one of our highest recommendations is to use a shoe stretching device with a shoe stretching spray. It’s a great preventative measure that can alleviate muscle pain and help to prevent many foot conditions from occurring. If you still have pain, however, any of these soothing options can work well to get rid of it effectively.

Finding the perfect pair of shoes to get rid of pain doesn’t have to be complicated. If you feel like your shoes are causing a big problem for your feet, ask a professional to help you with your next pair. Getting a proper fit can make a big difference to your comfort, especially if you spend hours standing up at work. When you do get professionally fitted for a shoe, it’s less likely that you’ll experience pain and discomfort.