How I Handle My Aching Feet

It was hard to categorize this post, because my aching feet are a health issue, beauty issue, and a fashion issue!  Because I loved stilettos in my 20s and 30s, I am paying the price now.  The first issue was a rather large bunion, which I dealt with by doing surgery.  But, I think the surgery and the pin in my left foot are causing issues now…so I guess I was doomed to pain no matter which way I went.

For my over 50 feet, I was able to begin with fun comfort flats and some low heels.  But, as I age, the decision have pretty much become fun flats only with occasional athletic wear for many casual days.  My current job requires a lot of on feet time and walks across a large college campus.  High humidity doesn’t help, and on those days I am particularly fatigued when my feet are throbbing.

I began an aggressive foot care program when I first had trouble with my feet in my late fifties.  Into my sixties, was when the hammer toes showed up and some days the swelling in the one foot is very difficult to handle.  So, my aggressive plan needs to be stepped up.   Here is the plan with the adjustments:

  1. Three years ago, I began to go for pedicures every two weeks…faithfully. My nail technician, Anna, was a nurse in Mexico in her youth and she brings a touch of that to my foot care.  She understands treating the callous on the bad foot and how to handle my ingrown toenails gifted to me from my parents!  My time there is so much more than pretty painted nails.  It is worth every penny and really is a part of my healthcare.  She used Sunflower Oil with my treatments yesterday and it was very soothing.  Outside of family and work, I probably see Anna more than anyone else!
  2. I do occasionally soak my feet in Epsom Salt with Lavender, but I think I need to do this more often…especially, at the end of long workdays. The brand with lavender is very soothing right before bedtime.  This is one part of my plan that I need to do more often.
  3. I have to face facts… I must shelve the cute shoes with no structure, and only wear the brands with comfortable foot support. I went shopping last week to try on several of the traditional comfort lines.  For my particular feet, some were great and others not so much (though known to help many).   The best ones for my feet right now are Rockport, Born, Sofft, and occasionally, Aerosole and Naturalizer.   I have to go try them on at a store….we all have such unique problems with our feet…weather arches, hammer toes, bunions, etc.  I usually have to go up a size to have room in the toe box for the hammer toes.  I still like a fashionable shoe…so these brands also offer cute designs.  Keeps me from feeling frumpy.

That’s the plan…and, of course, all ideas are welcome!  I have a slideshow below of my favorite comfort lines!  No more high heels…though I am suffering the consequences, I have to admit I loved them at one time of my life…despite the aches and pains…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………




  1. It’s funny how when we’re young we take our feet for granted and donj’t think about them aging like the rest of our body. When I was in my 20s and 30s it was fashion first and comfort second.
    Bunions runs in our family and I had my left foot done when I was in my teens back in the 70s and my right foot when I was 40 – incredibly painful both times and a long recovery period. The 1st one is still reasonably straight (no pin) but the right foot was pinned and it has a tendency to swell when it’s humid but both operations were completely successful in terms of getting rid of the excruciating pain I had.
    Your regime is a great reminder of the importance to take care of our feet, to allow us to stay active and independent and the choice of styles with comfort is out there but it takes trial and error and it’s definitely better to do it in store rather than online.
    I’m in the UK and love reading your blog.

  2. I have worn heels for all (upper 40+) working years, until this past summer. My feet are also pretty beat up from years in heels. I have found, with much encouragement from you, very stylish and well-fitting flats and low heels. I have a pair of neutral Vionics that I find myself building outfits around, and they are wonderful and very cute. I have to have my black heels, so found a low heel with pointy toes, also very stylish, and on it goes. I do a lavender treatment before bed and wear socks over that. I do have bunions from the heels, but they aren’t troublesome at this point. I’m glad you keep showing flats in the slideshows because that is helpful as I’m kind of late to this party!

  3. Hello in the UK, Carole! Thank you for being here…love it that I have so many readers there. I think humidity has much to do with my current discomfort! Thanks for pointing that out.

  4. Love your post and shoe suggestions! I have suffered with plantar fasciitis for years. I was fitted for orthotics and my problem has been finding shoes they fit in and I like. I will certainly check out some of the suggestions you posted about, which, by the way are really cute! I’m not sure if soaking helps the fasciitis but it’s worth a try! I’m open for any suggestions! Thanks!!

  5. Feet are very important as to how the rest of the body feels. I had to go the podiatrist last year as I had a stress fracture in my foot. I work a boot for a month and it healed. He recommended an insert from Amazon called Powerstep. It sells for $30.00. Many shoes have removable insoles and this can be inserted in those shoes. My favorite brands are Ecco, Clarks, Rockport, Asics, Rieker and Brooks. I am retired so I wear more athletic type shoes than when working. I like your suggestion to get a pedicure more often.

  6. What a great post! Thank you! I have found Epsom salts to be the very best of help to aching feet! Taking care of my feet at night makes the next day at work better!

  7. Totally agree that we don’t give our healthy feet enough credit when we are young. I used to think it was so lame – pun intended – when I would hear older people complain about their feet – shame on me. Long, fast walks (thinking I was doing the right thing) took their toll on my high arches. It took years of experimenting to find the right solutions. Now I consider myself lucky that orthotics and Munro Shoes keep me relatively pain free. My faves are a microfiber pair called Traveler and Sloane suede boots. I find that softer materials are much more comfortable than stiff leather.

  8. I broke my foot badly in a car accident over 20 years ago…no pretty shoes here. But I like Clark’s and order Hotter shoes from England. These both support and are cut so the swelling in my foot is accommodated. Miss pretty shoes!

  9. I have a ridge of bone that rings the back of my ankle about an inch from the bottom of my foot. Its cause is unknown and the corrective surgery very painful, with no weight on the foot allowed for 12 weeks. I’m waiting till retirement to have it done, so in the meantime, I can only wear mules, even in an Ohio winter. I use Ecco hiking sandals to replace athletic shoes for long walks. It causes no pain, which is a blessing, but still, this issue is really a problem! As a junior high school teacher, I’m on my feet constantly, so long ago I switched to comfort brands. The best for me are Clark’s. I think without them I would have a desk job :). Another brand that doesn’t get a lot of mention is Romika. They can run a little narrow for my wide-at-toes foot, so they are hit or miss. But, because they have air in the soles, I can wear a short heel in this brand. They are worth looking into if you are a fan of heels. Also, wedges are a real friend to the over 50 fashionistas among us. I’m grateful not to be in pain, and grateful that my mobility isn’t compromised … staying positive is most of the battle.

  10. Sorry, this is a second comment, as this issue really hit a nerve with me. I also wanted to pass on that the girls’ basketball coach at my school is very aginast using a treadmill because of the pounding the foot takes. He recommended the elliptical or arc trainer for the cardio. It made a huge difference for me. The biggest difference, though, came when I replaced many of my gym workouts with swimming. I find I love swimming and something about it relieves stress, which is a bonus.

  11. Your hunt for shoes could be worse. Having ww wide feet makes it almost impossible to find shoes. If Munro goes out of business, I’m in trouble. They are also twice the price since they are made in America.

  12. I stick to Vionics or Clarks or Skechers most of the time. I do have wooden clogs which are great too. I have plantar fasciitis and have had a DVT in one leg too. I figure comfort is key.

  13. I love your choices of comfy shoes! I have some flats and several booties which I grab when I am going to be on my feet for a long time. I tend to gravitate towards Sam Edelman and Vince Camuto for comfort plus the heel height is perfect for me. I find flats with no heel uncomfortable after wearing for more than an hour. I have a high arch- think that could be the reason? On the other hand (or foot!) I totally avoid any shoe with a heel height over 2 1/2 inches. Oh! I meant to add that I had a Baker’s cyst behind my knee which burst and fluid ended up at my feet which caused swelling. I thought I would mention that since it was the first time I had ever heard of a Baker’s cyst.

  14. I have foot problems too & can only wear shoes with wide toe box. I LOVE Naot shoes!! They are the most comfortable I have found. Many styles available.

  15. I have just developed tailor’s bunions in both feet. This has required me to go with a wide shoe to accommodate them. I live outside of Chicago and there are several shoe stores that specialize in comfortable shoes. If you have one in your area I would suggest going there for a fitting. I did, and purchased a SAS shoe which is comfortable. I also have a pair of Sketchers in a sneaker style. The store carries several brands and the person who helped me was great. I will have to donate all by old shoes but I won’t be buying as many because of the higher prices I will have to pay. Good Luck!!

  16. You might not know this Barbara…but SAS stands for San Antonio Shoes and they are made right here where I live. I have toured the factory and it is fascinating to watch them work. They do make great comfortable shoes and I will show off a couple of mine soon. Also, they do an old fashioned fitting in their stores.

  17. I tried Vionics and they were not as comfortable as others for my feet…but I know it is a great line. Thanks so much, Maureen.

  18. Thanks for mentioning this Anne…I know there are others with the same issues and you sharing will help them with finding Munro…maybe together we can keep them in Business!

  19. Did you know I use a treadmill? I think I needed to hear this. I will have to try some other exercise…which with a should injury has made everything a challenge. But, I did not know the treadmill might be a problem. Thanks Linda.

  20. Me too…I miss the heels often. I also like Hotter, but find others to be more comfortable. So sorry to hear about your accident. Thanks for sharing.

  21. My husband has pf and he went for a monthly foot massage and it really helped him. After about six months, hew as better. Thanks Linda.

  22. Thanks for the suggestions! I have bunions in both feet which makes finding shoes such a challenge. Flays are usually too flat and udually slip off my heel. I have bwtter luch with booties and tall boots. Mary Janes work although not my favourite style. Reiker,Remonte, Romika and Naturalizer are favourites and some styles of Naot. Will try the epsom salts with lavendar and Powerstep orthotic. I want to get rid of the bunions but the traditional method sound too painful and the recovery to long. Anyone tried laser?

  23. Over fifty years ago, my mother preached to me about wearing shoes with good arch support. Did I listen to her? Of course not! Like so many others, I am now paying the price. Just wearing flats or low heeled shoes does not solve the problems. I have to try on shoes at the store as well. Sizes & fit vary so much with shoes brand & type.

  24. I have not tried laser…interested to see if anyone has. I hope some of these suggestions will help you Janet.

  25. That is true Becky and though I wear flats…these comfort lines have a lot going on inside to offer the right support.

  26. I’ve had plantar fasciitis twice. The podiatrist said not to go barefoot–even to the bathroom in the middle of the night! On his recommendation I now wear a slight heel from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches. Wedge shoes are wonderful. I never wear flip flops and I cringe when I see them. They cause terrible damage to your feet.! I recently discovered Hotter and Rieker and added them to brands that work for me. I also believe there are some great fashionable comfort shoes but you have to try all the brands and find out what works for YOU!

  27. I love Hotters and find them comfortable for all day wear. Also Easy Spirit provide lots of support for my ancient feet.

  28. I am among the many who wore heels daily to work in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. So now flats, loafers and sneakers are what are in my closet. And those are hard to find that fit and aren’t painful. I have been known to buy multiple of the same shoes because they didn’t hurt my feet. My favorite flats are a smoking flat. They are not plentiful on the market since the ballet flat took over. I need more shoe coverage across the top of my foot and the ballet flat just doesn’t give me the coverage and support that a shoe with a higher vamp does. And, please tell me where the “real shoes” went? Now, the leather is paper thin and it’s hard to believe the soles are considered soles since they are all very thin plastic/rubber like material. I’m glad I hung onto some of my older Cole Haan loafers. Please oh please shoe mfgrs please bring back a true structured flat for those of who need more than a ballet slipper. Our cranky feet will thank you! 🙂

  29. I agree with you, Pat…bring them back. My Cole Haan flats are one of the few I can make it through the day wearing comfortably.

  30. I know the feeling. The number one thing I do to help my feet feel better is immediately take my shoes off as soon as I get home. After I take off my shoes, I put on soft socks. They immediately feel better.

    Thanks, and remember “thisisyourbestyear.


  31. I do the same thing…just can’t get them off fast enough! Thanks for stopping by!

  32. Pam—I love ECCO shoes (Danish brand) for comfort. Years ago I wore them on the long flight to Rome and then walking the cobbled streets right after we arrived and couldn’t believe my feet didn’t hurt. Just recently I remembered the comfort and long lasting quality of ECCO shoes and bought 3 (!) pair. Zappos carries them and also an on-line distributor…..

  33. My feet are a mess most days. I do find losing a few pounds has helped but certainly not enough to ever get me heels longer than an hour or so and never very high ones. I am always amazed to see women our age wearing heels but I must admit their feet look pretty sore when they take them off.

  34. well, welcome to the club. I have bunions which do not hurt, but I too wore shoes that really did not fit correctly for many years. Had to go up a size to accommodate large bunion but then shoes just caused me to slide along and not walk properly. Now I pronate and have to wear arch supports. I have been using them for 25 years now, so that means no heels at all for 25 years. I am lucky now there are so many cute sneakers out there that I can wear. Because of the shape of my feet, (very narrow heel) I wear tie up shoes. The glamour of cute shoes left my life 25 years ago.

  35. A late reply, but wanted to let you know, I have some foot issues and Vionic shoes with built in orthotics have helped immensely! They also sell orthotics you can slip into regular shoes, so you don’t have to get rid of all the cute shoes. 🙂 You can go to the Vionic website or shop for them on

  36. Thanks Diana…Dillards also carries all of what you mentioned in their shoe department!

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