I am 50 years old, female, a previous runner but stopped years ago due to knee injury (R ACL tear). Now I walk for exercise. I have high arches and feet a bit on the wide side, never had foot pain in the past except for spots rubbing on the toes or the instep of the shoe not being high enough for my foot.
Last year, I bought some Merrell barefoot shoes for travelling and really liked them, always room for my whole foot, and wore them more and more. Unfortunately I felt so good in them I started jogging in them (probably too fast) and injured my Achilles tendon (now healed).
So now I wear regular running shoes or the barefoot shoes for walks, supportive Born shoes at work, never heels.
Over the past year or so, I am noticing occasional pain in the ball of my left foot, doesn't matter which shoes I have on, usually with longer walks. And this month I have noted a thickening of the skin in the same area (ball of foot, closer to arch end than toe end, along the midline of foot), not really tender, but seems to be a spot that is rubbing or has pressure (it's not a wart).
So here's my question: Could barefoot shoes cause damage to the foot like this? Would it be crazy to try inserts in the barefoot shoes? I can wear the barefoot shoes forever and my feet feel great, especially on the top and sides, but it seems the lack of support may be causing problems on the sole of my foot now? (And, if so, which inserts should I try, Superfeet, the Walmart Dr Scholls, or should I go to a podiatrist for custom orthotics?
Thanks so much for any insights or experiences anyone may have. It's hard to know how much of this is from shoes and how much from my age/hormone status