Many common foot injuries and deformities from running and other athletic pursuits are entirely preventable just by switching your shoes. Traditional shoes can lead to unnecessary injuries because the shape does not adequately accommodate the natural shape of our feet.

This can lead to various types of foot pain, including bunions, blisters, and plantar fasciitis.

Foot-shaped shoes, like those we design at Lems, allow ample space for the feet to splay naturally, helping correct and prevent the various foot problems that can arise from wearing traditional footwear. 

If you have experienced any of the pain or common foot injuries listed below or they don’t seem to be healing, take a look at the bigger picture and think about whether a simple shoe swap might do the trick!

Plantar Fasciitis

This common overuse injury occurs when the long band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot is overstretched. Tiny tears can create inflammation, leading to pain. Plantar fasciitis is common in runners or other athletes whose sports involve repetitive motion.

Symptoms include: mild pain at the heel bone, sharp stabbing pain along the bottom of the foot, pain after exercising and after long periods of rest.

Treatment options generally include ice, rest, and wearing a night splint.

Ankle Sprains

We’ve all probably at least mildly sprained an ankle in our lifetime. Stepping strangely on an uneven surface will cause the ankle to roll and give it a good jolt. More serious ankle sprains can sideline athletes for months, depending on the severity.

Traditional shoes feature an elevated heel, which forces the lower leg bones to sit back further on the more narrow part of the ankle, a much less stable position than in a minimalist shoe.

In addition to wearing the right footwear, balancing and strengthening exercises can help build more supportive ankles.

Treatment for ankle sprains includes rest, ice, and strength exercise.


Traditional footwear is tapered at the toe, which causes our toes to cram together in the toe box. 

When the toes are repeatedly forced into this position, the bone of the big toe is pushed outward, while the toe turns inward. This is the start of a bunion.

Over time, the bunion will continue to grow bigger and bigger, leading to pain and foot deformities.

Symptoms include: a large bump protruding from the inside of your foot, swelling and redness, calluses on the bone growth, recurring pain.

Treatment options generally include wearing shoes with wide toe boxes, refraining from wearing high heels, surgery in extreme cases, and wearing Correct Toes.

Hammer Toe

Similar in some ways to a bunion, a hammer toe is a deformity caused by repeated downward curling of the toes. Hammer toes can occur on any toe of the foot, but are most common on the second or third toes.

The most common cause of hammer toes are poorly-fitting shoes with a narrow toe box.

Signs of hammer toe include a toe that bends downward instead of straight out, corns and calluses on the afflicted toe, inability to flex the toes, and pain while walking.

The best method of treatment is to switch shoes to something that can properly accommodate your foot. Size may also be the issue, so be sure that you are wearing the correct size shoe for your feet


Another very common injury we’ve undoubtedly all experienced are blisters. Caused by friction between your skin and sock, shoe, or insole, blisters form when the top layer of skin separates from the bottom layers.

A protective liquid-filled bubble will form over the spot, causing discomfort and often quite a lot of pain. Blisters are generally caused by shoes that fit too tightly or that do not allow ample space for the foot to spread out naturally.

Wearing minimalist shoes paired with socks like Injinji Toe Socks will minimize blisters and allow the feet to splay naturally within a shoe. 

Morton’s Neuroma

Most common in middle-aged women, Morton’s Neuroma occurs when the tissue that leads to a toe becomes inflamed, usually between the second and third toes. 

The condition is generally caused by wearing shoes that are too tight or that have high heels, which compresses the tissue and causes inflammation.

Symptoms include: an intermittent burning sensation in the ball of your foot, the feeling that you have a rock in your shoe, and numbness or tingling in your toe.

Treatment options include rest, strengthening and stretching exercises, massaging the foot with a ball, and ice.

Additional Articles

History of Shoes

As time has evolved, so of course has shoe design. Initially, athletic shoes became common, driven by comfort and performance. However, as shoes became fashionable, they became more impractical, driven by look over comfort.

Let’s take a deeper look into the history of footwear and understand how the design of today’s shoes has created a host of foot problems, including bunionshammer toes, and more.

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