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Wide Thin Feet can be troublesome!!


Wide Thin Feet can give foot pain

By Margot Manning – Podiatrist | Footwear Specialist | Running Coach

Here’s a trouble maker…   A ‘normal’ foot that flattens like a pancake!

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These are perfectly fine feet to look at, but when you start running they flatten to become quite wide or even longer. If your shoe is not wide enough, then running can become painful and it is possible to develop longer term nerve injuries. 

There are other normal looking feet that can also turn into longer or wider feet.  When this happens it causes problems in your shoes like burning pain, blisters and black toes nails.  They are hard to detect at times, but boy, they can cause some pain in your feet.  The challenge for you is that buying shoes become tricky because there always seems to be something not quite right. 

Below are 3 relatively common foot features that can make running shoes more difficult to fit, PLUS some tips to help it easier for you.  

3 troublesome foot traits:



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A  hypermobile foot can be like a bag of bones that appears normal but flattens like a pancake when you run.  The foot splays and widens.  With the repetition of running as it widens, you get increased pressure from the sides of the shoes and can lead to nerve-like symptoms.  Nerve Neuroma’s which are thickenings on the nerve can develop.  Neuroma’s are problematic and difficult to treat so getting your shoes sorted can save your from long term pain.  
What to look out for:
  • When you stand up, your normal looking foot flattens and splays.
  • Burning pain in your feet after running for a while
  • Bumps on the top of the 5th toe joint

Fitting tip: Go to a wider shoe!!  It may be the best solution to stop the burning pain you get from wearing shoes.

Podiatry tip:  Metatarsal domes attached to your insole can reduce the flattening effect



These toes are knobbly and bendy forming into claw-like shapes.  Over time they can stiffen into a more permanent state. 

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Toes like this need more depth at the toe box. You might see some redness on the top of your toe knuckles.  This happens when they rub against the top of the upper.  This can worsen as these toes stiffen.

If your foot has claw toes AND is flexible then you have the added challenge of getting a longer foot when you start running.  Watch out for this one!!  You will get black toenails or blisters  if your toes start hitting the end of the shoe once running


What to look out for:

  • knobbly toe knuckles
  • bent toes
  • Black toes or blistering on the end of your toes. 

Fitting tip: Go for a deeper shoe at the toe box.You need more room from the foot bed to the top of the upper around your toes.  

Podiatry tip:  Claw toes and Hammer toes are easier to help with insole modifications when they can still straighten.  These have underlying biomechanical causes that are worth getting checked.  



Thick and deep feet are an interesting shape as they can appear as a high arch, or can look very thick through the arch.  These feet needs lots more depth around the arch and you are likely to need some lacing modification too to take the pressure off at its highest point.  
High arch
These feet may also have a thicker 1st toe joint, requiring you to make sure the shoe also has good depth in the toe box. 

What to look for in shoes: 

  • DEPTH!!!  The depth of the shoe is the height from the insole of the shoe to the top of the upper.  
  • Be wary of shoes that are tapered and make sure you don’t see the bulges of your toe knuckles through the shoes. 

Fitting tip: Go for a deeper shoe through the arch.   

Podiatry tip:  The trickier version of these feet are those that are high arched but mobile.  If there is a lot of space under the arch it may need a small fill or a simple insole to give better proprioceptive feedback to your running movement with the ground and shoe.  

If you don’t like buying shoes because you can never find the right one, maybe it’s because you have one of these ‘hidden’ features. If you have trouble with your running shoes or your dress shoes, come and see one of our podiatrists.  We know what to look for to help make shoe fitting easier and your feet more comfortable.  

Come and see us at 535 Milton Road, Toowong