Why Do My Shoes Wear Faster on the Outside?

by Chris Centeno, MD /

I wear out shoes very fast. In fact, my black dress shoes now have worn down about 50% of the heel on the outside, so I no longer wear them. Do you do this too? If your shoes wear faster on the outside of the heel, why is this happening? Is it causing other problems? Is it a sign of something that needs to be fixed?

The Answer Can Be Found in How You Walk

How you walk varies from person to person. In this case, we are looking specifically at how the foot hits the ground. Some of us have a balanced, or neutral, foot strike on the ground as we walk. Some make contact with the ground with more pronounced inward pressure (pronation) on the foot. While yet others make contact with more pronounced outward pressure on the foot (supination). Our focus today is on supination. If your shoes are wearing faster on the outside, your foot supinates too much when you walk.

It’s important to understand that for a foot to evenly absorb the forces as it hits the ground, neutral contact between the foot and the ground naturally involves slight rolling both inward and outward of the foot. This minimizes the ground forces as they move from the foot and up the leg. But when the foot rolls too much one way or the other, this extra pressure can create problems, such as arthritis, not just in the foot, but all the way up the kinetic chain, into the ankle, knees, hips, and even the spine. Likewise, problems can start at the top of the chain (the spine) and work their way down to the feet, causing supination. Let me explain.

Believe It or Not, Your Supination Problem May Be Caused by Irritated Back Nerves

Supination can be caused by a number of different things. It can be congenital, based on, for example, the angle of your ankle or knee, a hip that sits too far forward or too far backward, or an abnormally shaped or aligned spine (i.e., scoliosis). Additionally, the way your foot is built, such as a super high arch, can cause the foot to supinate too much.

More often than not, however, what we see with supination and other foot problems is irritated nerves in the low back. Back pain may or may not accompany irritated low-back nerves, so just because you don’t have back pain with supination doesn’t mean a nerve issue should be ruled out. How in the world can the nerves all the way up in the back have anything to do with why your shoes wear faster on outside edge of the foot?

The nerves in the low back supply the muscles in your leg and those muscles actually help to control how your foot hits the ground. So if there’s no irritation, those muscles balance the foot; if there is nerve irritation, even slight weakness on one side of the foot can change the strength of the muscles that keep the foot balanced, creating strange angles to the foot as it hits the ground.

How to Treat Supination

If your shoes wear faster on outside of the heel, and you know there is no congenital condition that would cause your feet to supinate, this may be a good indication that you have irritated nerves in the low back that should be treated before they cause more damage. If it isn’t a nerve issue, many times you can strengthen these lower-limb muscles on devices like a BAPS board or use orthotics, and that can really help relieve pressure on the foot, knee, and other joints. However, if you have or develop back issues, or if you just can’t treat and correct your supination conservatively, an X-ray–guided injection of platelet growth factors around the specific irritated nerves can be a good solution.

The upshot? Pay attention to those shoes wearing out more on the outside! This may mean that you have irritated nerves in the low back that are impacting how your foot hits the ground. If so, then there are things you can do to help!

Category: Foot, Latest News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 thoughts on “Why Do My Shoes Wear Faster on the Outside?

  1. Larry Rhoden

    I have had a total knee replacement performed by the V A as my knee was injured while on active duty. This proceedure was perfomed 27 months ago and I still have knee pain, in fact my pain is worse sometimes than before the replacemet. I am 69 yers old.

    3 months ago I was walking on a concrete walkway when I came to a 6inch drop to another walkway. I lead off with my replaced knee and it gave out. I fell on my left side, fracturing my left hip and left femur which required emergency surgery. A bilt was inserted into my hip joint and a nail was inserted from the top of my hip down to my knee prosthectic. I am healing normally from my hip injury according to my surgeon but the pain in my knee is inhibiting my rehabilitation. The knee hurts more now than prior to my hip injury. I have had a Catscan and bone scan of my knee but ny surgeon can not find any issues with the kneee prosthetic. In 2009 I had an accident and my T-12 vertabre incured a 37 % compression fracture. A Kypoplasty proceedure was inferred but the spinal specialist felt that this proceedure was too risky. I have somehow managed to overcome any noticeable side affects in my back where I don’t experience any pain other than when I sleep more than 7 hours. Could my knee pain be assoc iated with mh spinal injury. The VA orthopedic surgeon diagnosed me with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Problem is my knee has and continues to swell and is warm to the touch every since my knee replacement. I can not see where the diagnosis by the ortho surgeon is correct as the swelling and warm temp would not be something associated with Reflex Sympathetic Distrophy. Is there any hope for me?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Larry,

      Yes, low back issues can and do cause knee pain. In these cases knee replacement doesn’t help the knee pain as the pain was never from the knee. With regard to RSD, I would need to perform an exam to comment further. Please see: https://regenexx.com/blog/knee-replacement-outcomes-back-pain/

  2. Richard

    Can it work in reverse where wearing wrong shoes that wear on the outside can cause lower back pain? Piriformis etc

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Richard,
      Orthotics to address the issue can help. If they don’t, treatment is needed.

  3. Donald

    Ive been to two podiatrist and one orthopedic doctor for my sypination. The two podiatrist were no help and the orthopedic doctor seems confounded. I had xrays at his office. He told me I had no broke bones but that he wanted a Ctscan to look better. I can tell him there are no broken bones. I tried to explain to him it feels like the muscles in my calf and foot are tight and I think the muscles are causing the problem BUT I am not a doctor.

    What would you suggest. I am not able to work because of my foot and I want to work. Please tell me there is hope.

    Thanks

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Davis,
      If conservative treatment like custom orthotics and physical therapy has failed, looking into low back issues would be next, as the nerves that control how your foot hits the ground are there. An MRI of your low back would be more valuable than a Cat Scan. We treat these kind of low back issues regularly. If you’d like to see if we can help, please click on the “Get Started” button here: https://regenexx.com/conditions-treated/spine/

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.