These shoes are a pain in my ... feet

      You don't have to be a marathon walker to experience foot pain.

      Properly fitting shoes can make all the difference in our daily lives. When they don't fit properly, shoes can hurt our feet, our knees, our backs, and so much more.

      We spoke with a sports medicine doctor to find out more details about aching feet. Dr. Gina Pontius is a sports medicine fellow through the SIU Quincy Family Medicine Residency Program.

      "I would start first with wearing the appropriate footwear for your particular sport," said Pontius.

      Beware of spiked heels. Wearing spikes causes alignment problems, putting strain on the knees and back.

      "If you have a flat foot, meaning your arch kind of drops, it would be good to wear more supportive shoes. You shouldn't be wearing sandals, but more of a regular tennis shoe," said Pontius.

      Although flip flops and sandals may be comfortable and easy to wear, they can cause problems down the road due to their lack of support.

      Shoes that fail to provide enough support could eventually lead to pinched nerves, bunions, hammer toes, stress fractures and early arthritis.

      Click here to read our story about Shape Ups , a popular type of sneaker worn to help tone muscles and burn fat. Turns out they're not bad at all.

      Remember, what works for someone else may not work for you in a shoe.

      Here are some tips we discovered from :

      - When standing, there should be a small amount of space between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.- Rubbing toes can mean potential foot pain later.- Don't buy a shoe that is too narrow.- Consider durability, flexibility and breathability of the material when selecting a shoe.- For extra arch support, consider prescription orthotics or shoe inserts.- Don't be married to what you think is "your shoe size" ... get measured, if you can, to find the best fit.- Make sure your shoes are not worn out. This can cause an increase in foot pain. Replace shoes if the tread is appearing worn or if you've identified compression wrinkles in the soles.

      Ultimately the best shoes for men and women are sneaker shoes with support and flexibility. While we are not going to swear off high heels just yet ... we are going to make sure that we wear the bad-for-you shoes in moderation!

      (Reminder: Information included in this story is to promote discussion and health awareness. Please consult your doctor for advice on your health issues and questions.)

      Would you give up dress shoes? Would you give up flip flops? Take our poll below and then post your opinion on our Facebook page here ... we want to see what our viewers have to say!