6 Tips to Stop Shoes from Rubbing the Back of Your Ankle

Do you dread wearing in a new pair of shoes? Are you worried they might give you blisters or hurt your heels? Read on if you would like to know how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle.


It’s one of those things that you just know, you will get blisters if your shoes start rubbing. Short of taking them off, what else can you do to prevent them from hurting the back of your foot? Then there is the pain that can result in your Achilles tendon, heels, or ankle.

Let’s look at some things that might help prevent this from happening and keep your shoes comfortable.

You may also be interested in: 8 Ways To Make Your Big Shoes Fit Smaller

Why do my shoes rub the back of my ankle?

The cause of shoe rubbing can be either a problem with your feet or the shoes. If you have an improper fit, then it’s likely that one or both are too small and will rub against other parts on walks making them uncomfortable to wear for long periods at once.

In some cases this may just result in minor discomfort but more often than not these types if issues lead back into chronic pain which ruins our day-to see how we’re feeling after walking around all morning


What Can Be Caused by Shoes Rubbing Back Of  Your Heel?

There are a few things that shoes rubbing the back of your ankle can cause. These include:

  • Friction blisters: That painful, fluid-filled raised area of skin caused by rubbing can be very painful. They are one of the most common things caused by shoes rubbing against your heels and ankles.
  • Achilles Tendonitis: There are several causes of this inflammatory condition, one of which is a shoe rubbing constantly against the heel or top of the foot.
  • Achilles Tendonosis: This strain on the Achilles tendon can cause a bump on the base of the heel or at the ankle. It can be caused by tissue breakdown due to overuse and rubbing shoes won’t help.
  • Bursitis: The bursae are fluid-filled sacs that help cushion the bones and tendons in the ankle. Ill-fitting shoes or high heels can cause them to become inflamed and painful.


How to Stop Shoes from Rubbing the Back of Your Ankle

There are some things you can do to help prevent your shoes from rubbing against your ankle and causing injury. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Preventing Blisters from Shoes

band aid

We have already mentioned that this is one of the most common things shoes that rub against your heels or ankles causes. These are some of the things you can do to prevent blisters forming:


Stick Moleskin Inside Your Shoes

Moleskin is a strong thick cotton fabric with a plush shaved pile surface on one side and sticky on the other.  You can stick some inside the heels of your shoes to prevent rubbing.

What You Need
  • Scissors.
  • Pen or pencil.
What You Do
  • Unroll a section of moleskin large enough to stick over the area of your shoe you want to cover.
  • Place this inside the heel of your shoe and trace the area you want to cover with the pen or pencil.
  • Using scissors to cut out this shape.
  • Make sure the inside of the heel of your shoe is free from dust or dirt.
  • Peel back the protective backing on the moleskin shape.
  • Stick the shape in place on the inside of the heel of your shoe


Pro Tip

Cut the shape required a little larger than you need to make sure the offending area is covered.


Stick Moleskin to Your Heels

Moleskin can also be applied to your skin to help prevent blisters forming.

What You Need
  • Moleskin with a sticky back.
  • Scissors
What You Do
  • Make sure the skin on your heel is clean and dry.
  • Using scissors, cut a piece of moleskin large enough to wrap around your heel.
  • Remove the protective backing.
  • Stick the moleskin to your heel (much the same as you would stick a band-aid).


Pro Tips
  • Cover an area larger than the places that might rub, this way it might stick better.
  • Wear thin socks over the moleskin to help keep it in place.


You can find a video here from the Academy of Dermatology on how to prevent and treat blisters.


Anti-Friction Sticks

These sticks can be purchased at drug stores online. They contain a balm which is applied directly to your skin, creating an invisible barrier. This, in turn, prevents friction, one of the causes of blisters when shoes rub.

You can choose one like this from Solemates. It’s unscented, hypoallergenic, and gentle on your skin.



Cover Existing Blisters

If you were too late in stopping your shoes from rubbing and blisters have already formed, be sure to keep them covered. This will prevent infection and cushion them from further damage.

You could choose something like these heel bandages from Band-Aid. They are cushioned and waterproof to shield blisters from becoming worse and aid the healing process.



Use Anti Perspirant

Keeping feet dry can help prevent blisters. You can use antiperspirant on your heels to prevent the moisture and sweat which create chafing from shoes that rub.


Reduce Foot Movement

Ill-fitting shoes can cause your feet to move around inside them, causing friction leading to blisters. Consider placing an insole inside your shoes or using a heel grip to hold your foot in place.

These from Ballotte have gel inside them to cushion your heels and side protection to prevent chafing. They help hold your heel in place and stop it from moving around.



Avoid Shoes Causing Blisters – Make Sure Your Shoes Fit Well

Ill-fitting shoes can cause any number of foot problems, some of which are associated with shoes rubbing your heels. Making sure your shoes are the right size for your feet is important. There are lots of ways to find out the correct size of your feet for shoes and boots.

Shoes that are too big can benefit from over-the-counter insoles to take up the slack.

Shoes which are too small will cramp your feet leading to pain. I am sure we have all been there with a new pair of shoes we couldn’t wait to wear. You end up aching to get home to take them off.

There are few things you can try with shoes that are too tight or new shoes to stretch them and soften up the heels.


Soften the Heels of Shoes

Softening the back of new shoes can help prevent them from rubbing your ankles. Leather and suede will soften easier than things like fabric, rubber, or plastic.

You can soften heels by:

  • Using a leather conditioner, like mink oil or beeswax. Apply it and leave it overnight to condition the leather. Just be aware it might change the color of the leather.

Pro Tip

Using a hairdryer on plastics and synthetics might not be a good idea. Even on leather and fabric, don’t get the shoes too hot, just soften and warm them.


Stretching Shoes

stretching shoes

Shoes can be stretched using either a shoe tree, a shoe stretcher, or a shoe stretch spray. Shoes that fit your feet better will be less likely to rub your ankles.

  • For a shoe tree, place it in your shoes whenever you aren’t wearing them. It will help them keep their shape and if it’s a little too wide or long can stretch them over time.
  • A shoe stretcher does what it says, stretches your shoes; most have a handle and a knob that you turn to adjust them. Pop them in your shoes and turn the knob until the material of the shoes is snug over the stretcher. Leave them for about eight hours or so and adjust further if they aren’t stretched enough.
  • A shoe stretch spray like this one from Foot Matters might work on many different materials. You simply spray the area you want to stretch and then walk around in thick socks with the shoes on until they dry. The application can be repeated if needed.
  • If you don’t trust yourself to stretch your own shoes then you can always take them to a cobbler to do it for you. This video shows you a cobbler stretching a shoe.

  • One other way of stretching your shoes is to wear them in gently by walking around in them at home for short periods of time. This will take longer than the other methods but hopefully will eventually make them more comfortable.


Reduce the Moisture in Your Shoes

Wet or damp feet increase your chances of getting blisters. Aside from the increased risk because you’re walking around with wet shoes all day, water also softens up skin and makes it more susceptible to damage – something that’s especially bad if there are any open wounds on top!

If you find that your feet are constantly wet, try using an absorbent powder like talcum to help keep the environment in-between each shoe dry.

You may also want choose breathable materials for socks and allow them extra wiggle room so they can breathe better while still keeping moisture away from all parts of our body!


Chose the Right Socks

The best way to avoid blisters and rubbing is by wearing socks with enough cushioning between your feet, which will be protected from the hard surfaces in a shoe. While some styles of socks look great, they might not offer any protection or comfort when compared to more durable options- make sure they have natural padding so it’s not super thin! And finally: choose materials like merino wool that draw moisture away while keeping heat close at hand


Tips for Caring for Your Feet

Looking after the general health of your feet is just as important as having good fitting shoes. Here are a few simple things you can do to keep your feet in tip-top condition:

  • Wash and dry your feet daily to keep bacteria at bay.
  • Soak your feet in hot water and use a pumice stone to remove rough dead skin. Do this gently so you don’t damage your skin.
  • Moisturize your feet and ankles to help prevent the skin from becoming dry and cracked.
  • Keep your toenails clipped. When they grow too long it can affect all of your foot and your ankles.
  • Change your socks daily so moisture is not retained in the heel and ankle area.


Final Thoughts

Now you know some of the things you can do to help prevent blisters and pain in the ankle bone and heels from shoes that rub. Putting these into practice will have you striding out in your new shoes with confidence.

We hope you enjoyed our guide on how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle. Leave us a comment with your thoughts and experiences and don’t forget to share.


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