What Are Therapeutic Shoes?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Images By: n/a, Allan Ferguson, Mettus, Jeffrey Banke
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2018
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Therapeutic shoes are designed to provide varying elements of support and comfort to the wearer. Some shoes are tailored to help relieve pain from foot-related conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, bunions and heel spurs. Therapeutic shoes featuring larger toe boxes can also add comfort for a person suffering diabetic-related foot pain, such as diabetic neuropathy. In addition to standard shoes, clogs, slippers and even work boots are readily available in therapeutic styles. Many therapeutic shoes are designed to accommodate removable orthotic devices, such as arch supports and shoe inserts.

Foot pain related to a medical condition is often the reason a person seeks out therapeutic shoes. Therapeutic shoes for diabetics typically feature wide and high toe boxes, which provide extra room for the toes and helps alleviate pain. Shoes with added width and height for diabetics are offered in a variety of styles, including running shoes, work boots and slippers.

For people with heel pain, shoes with built-in orthotics can usually offer some pain relief. Some sandals serve as therapeutic shoes in that they can offer some relief for pain from plantar fasciitis. The sandals feature added stability from an arch support, along with a deep-cupped heel to help absorb shock from walking. Some therapeutic shoes are designed to help lessen the pain caused from heel spurs while walking. The shoes help align the foot, add arch support and feature deep heel cups.


Due to accident, injury or other causes, some people have one leg that is shorter than the other. This uneven gait can make walking difficult as well as result in back, knee and hip pain from the constant strain on the body to compensate for the problem. Therapeutic shoes can help to address this issue by having a build-up placed on the sole of a shoe. This lift can be applied to just the heel, or can run the entire length of the shoe, as needed.

Therapeutic shoes are often specially designed to accommodate needed accessories, such as arch supports, lifts and shoe inserts. The removable inserts and arches are often custom-molded to the wearer's feet. Increasing the shoe's height allows room for the insert, as well as for the wearer's foot to comfortably fit inside the shoe on top of the insert. Specially designed shoes can also be used to help address other mobility and health issues, such as posture, body alignment and stability while walking.



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