Why Do My Feet Hurt? | By Dr. Ray McClanahan, DPM

Many of you reading this are going to experience a foot problem at some point in your lifetime. Some of you are even going to develop a chronic condition that will introduce your body to a new level of suffering. Ever heard the old saying – “when your feet hurt, you hurt all over”?

The tendency for most of you will be to try to figure out what is wrong, and find a way to alleviate your discomfort. You may self-treat with over the counter products such as insoles, anti-inflammatory or pain medicine. Some of you will seek professional advice from your primary doctor or a specialist. A lot of you will look for answers online, to determine a diagnosis.

After doing this you may think that you’re going to get to the solution you’re after, but in actuality there’s something that should be looked at long before pursuing any of the steps mentioned above. From the 22 years I’ve been taking care of people’s feet, I can tell you that there is a key piece of information many never find. It’s honestly something few know about, but it’s much more likely to be causing your foot troubles.

The fit of your shoes.


Yes, the commonly accepted shape of shoes and the method of assigning your feet a number and letter, based upon measurements with the Brannock device, are the most likely reasons for your foot pain. Why? Having your feet measured in this way ignores the natural shape of your feet, and guarantees that you will change this natural shape and inhibit proper function. For many of you this started in infancy, but because of the amazing compensatory abilities of your feet you are likely able to function fairly well in unnatural alignment. For a while, that is.


Studies show that about 75% of people in the United States have foot pain at some point in their lives. When that day comes for you to experience your own personal suffering; instead of resorting to the means mentioned above, perform a free and simple in home test to show yourself the most likely reason for your pain.

We perform this test on every patient that comes in to our clinic, and the majority of their feet spread beyond the sock liner. This ensures that their feet are going to be mis-aligned, because the upper part of the shoe is the same shape as the sock liner.

This goes for you men as well. Even in athletic shoes.

So when your feet begin to hurt – resist the temptation to self-medicate, seek professional advice or try to figure out your diagnosis, until you have checked the fit of your shoes.

Be skeptical of any advice or treatment of your foot pain that does not include aligning your feet naturally. Your feet are designed to be widest at the ends of the toes, so be wary of any professional who ascribes your foot pain to genetics, biomechanics or overuse, but fails to ensure that your feet are aligned as they are naturally designed to be. It is impossible to achieve lifelong foot health and ignore this basic anatomic fact.

8 thoughts on “Why Do My Feet Hurt? | By Dr. Ray McClanahan, DPM”

  1. Sage advice. After spending hundreds on doctors bills and custom orthotics and suffering for years with numbness, burning, tingling, and pain in my feet and legs, I made the switch to proper fitting shoes and used correct toes and have been pain free for over a year now.

    1. That is so fantastic Austin! We’re sorry to hear that you had to go through all that before finding ways to naturally strengthen your feet, but we’re very glad to hear that at least now you’ve found something that works! Please feel free to continue to update us or even to leave a testimonial–we love to hear from our customers. Here’s to many more pain-free years!

  2. Dr. Ray. I started wearing Correct Toes part-time and wearing Lems Boulder Boots and Injinji toe socks in April “16. Came August it was fultime. I had bunions, a couple of hammertoes and 2 crooked toes. I live on a ranch in Az. and the terrain is far from flat and/or smooth. Thanks to you and your staff (and the motivating video Rebecca did. I am so much better off. Bunions are getting cleared up toes staightening, And hammertoes are better (they’re very stubborn). Over all, I have very happy feet and toes!
    All the podiatrists around here talk about surgery….. So glad I came across your website. By the way, I turned 63 last month- proof that age and determination coupled with good folks like you and your staff
    there are no limits. Thank you so much.

  3. Correct Toes and Dr. Ray’s advice have kept me pain and surgery free for 5 years now. After having surgical remedies and orthotics recommended to me for foot pain, I did my own digging into the issue and have never looked back after adjusting my footwear choices and wearing Correct Toes. I especially appreciate that Dr. Ray includes within his available resources to the public information regarding our cultural norms surrounding footwear choices. Once you understand your own psychological responses to footwear, you can adjust your thinking and get on with pursuing wonderfully happy feet that simply make your entire body feel great! A sincere thank you, Dr. Ray. I do not normally provide reviews and comments online, but I do for Correct Toes!

  4. I am female, over 60, a great walker. My feet are fairly deformed with large bunions, hammer toes, claw toes, and tight tendons that cause my toes to rise up when my feet are at rest, not standing. Last year a physical therapist recommended feet/toe exercises and wearing shoes with no elevation (goodbye orthotics), and I happened onto the Correct Toes site. I’ve learned so much, and have several pairs of shoes recommended by this site. My big toes are starting to straighten a bit, and my knees (the reason for PT), are good. But the widest part of my feet remains at the area of the bunions, and I’m finding that even men’s shoes aren’t wide enough, and I can’t fit CorrectToes into most of my shoes. My next pair I’ll try a larger size, but any other thoughts? Am a bit frustrated that I can’t fully treat my feet right.

  5. Thank you for what you’re doing. I am a long-distance runner with beginning stage of Hallux Limitus in one foot. I was so disappointed and afraid that I’d have to stop running (in fact, the first podiatrist I saw told me I *should* stop running). After seeing several podiatrists whose advice ranged from “stop running” to “let’s schedule surgery,” I decided to take matters into my own hands and do my research. I’m so happy I found this site. I have been wearing Correct Toes for about 7 months now and I am 100% pain free even while running. I wear them all the time and I always run in them. The only downside is that I’ve had to get rid of ALL my unnatural-foot-shape shoes, which was my entire shoe closet – close to 40 pairs! I love cute shoes but I now know that they were the cause of my foot troubles, so even though it pained me to clear them out, the knowledge that I’m finally treating my body the way nature intended leaves me with no regret. To me, being able to continue running pain free is certainly worth more than a thousand pairs of cute but foot-destroying shoes! I have since found some wonderful companies that make beautiful, comfortable shoes and I’m slowly refilling my closet – Soft Star and The Drifter Leather are my two main sources for dress/casual; Altra for running shoes. Thanks, again!

    1. So glad to hear you’re pain free and able to run! We love Softstar and The Drifter Leather too. Thanks for sharing!

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