These Doctor-Recommended Shoes and Socks Fixed My Quarantine Foot Pain

A week into quarantine, I started experiencing pain in my heel that made it impossible to walk, let alone run or exercise. And thanks to Instagram, I learned that I’m not alone.

“If you or anyone you know is having extreme heel pain after being locked/quarantined in your hardwood floored apartment for the past two months, look no further,” one post read.

The IG user suggested taping Dr. Scholl’s inserts to your feet. But there’s actually a much easier solution for foot pain: indoor shoes.

Miguel Cunha, MD, founder of Gotham Footcare, says that walking barefoot on hard surfaces for long periods of time alters the distribution of pressure and weight across your feet. The imbalance can cause foot deformities, such as bunions and painful conditions like shin splints, achilles tendonitis, and heel pain, he says. Eventually, this could lead to knee and back problems, too.

But that doesn’t mean you can just throw on your old gym shoes, Cunha warns.

“I strongly advise against wearing outdoor shoes indoors to avoid the unnecessary and non-hygienic transfer of soil, bacteria, viruses, and pollen from the environment into our homes,” he says.

Even if you don’t wear dirty shoes inside, you can be affected by housemates, Cunha explains.

“You can catch the virus from a spouse or roommate if they have plantar warts,” he says. “That’s why I suggest having an indoor shoe specifically inside. Do not walk barefoot inside and do not wear outside shoes indoors.”

Your handy slippers probably don’t count as shoes, either—unless they include a back strap and arch support.

“With backless slippers, they aren’t really supporting your feet—it’s the other way around,” says Cunha. “Your feet are supporting the slipper which you can tell with every step. You’re crunching down to hold onto the slipper – gripping them with your feet. This accelerates the formation of a hammer toe.”

If you’ve already gone barefoot for the past month and are experiencing foot pain, Cunha recommends purchasing a pair of compression socks, too. They provide arch and ankle support, which can improve achilles tendonitis.

After three weeks of wearing the socks, and a mix of APL and Vionic shoes inside, my heel feels immensely better. In fact, I’ve already started jogging again.

Here are Cunha’s top picks for shoes to wear indoors:

Check Out These Doctor-Recommend Picks for Indoor Footwear:

New Balance Men’s 608v5 Casual Comfort Cross Trainer Shoes



“This walking shoe is lightweight with increased forefoot flexibility, ABZORB New Balance proprietary materials for enhanced midsole and heel comfort and support,” says Cunha. “These shoes are affordable and durable.”

Brooks Men’s Addiction Walker Walking Shoes



“These shoes are not as lightweight as the New Balance Fresh Foam 1165, however I highly recommend them for low arched people as they provide great stability and shock control especially on hard pavement. These are slightly more expensive but worth the investment as they are comfortable to wear for long periods of time,” says Cunha. 

SB SOX Compression Foot Sleeves for Men & Women



“These socks help provide comfort and arch support as they minimize arch fatigue, heel pain, and throbbing with every step. This sock also features graduated compression to support the ankle which can also improve Achilles tendonitis and circulation reducing as it reduces inflammation of the foot and ankle,” says Cunha. 

Vionic Unisex Wave Toe Post Sandal



“I don’t recommend long-term use of sandals for outdoor purpose as they can fatigue your tendons as they work more than usual to hold the sandal onto your foot. However, when walking around the house indoors, I do recommend the use of Vionic Sandals with Concealed Orthotic Arch to comfortably support and cushion your arch which can become aggravated especially when walking on hardwood or marble floors,” says Cunha. 

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