Sandals and Foot Pain: How to Prevent a Summer Shoe Flop
Nothing says summer quite like breaking out the flip flops and shades, however; regular flip flop wearing can put you at risk for developing foot pain. So how can you keep your feet healthy and happy this spring and summer? First, we must define plantar fasciitis.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a painful disorder caused by inflammation on the bottom of the foot. More specifically, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of a connective band of tissue, called plantar fascia, which stretches from the base of the toes across the arch of the foot to the point at which it inserts into the heel bone. Over pronation (rolling the foot inward) is the most common cause of plantar fasciitis. Due to the lack of arch support and stability, your foot rolls inward excessively when walking, flattening the foot, lengthening the arch, and putting added tension on the plantar fascia. Over time, this can cause inflammation and pain.
How do I recognize plantar fasciitis?
The characteristics of plantar fasciitis include pain in the heel that is typically more intense during the first steps of the day. Individuals with plantar fasciitis usually have tightness of the calf muscles and may notice difficulty bending the foot upward.
Flip flop sandals may contribute to this type of foot disorder due to the poor support and stability of the sandal; however, there are many different types of sandals that offer more support.
Here are some tips to picking a better pair of sandals this summer:
Size: One size does not fit all. Find a pair of sandals that fit properly and comfortably.
Flexibility: Try the bend test. Is your sandal flexible enough to bend in half? If so, you may need a more supportive sandal. Sandals should be flexible at the ball of the foot for walking but the rest of the sandal should have support to give your ankle and foot stability.
Arch: A sandal with a thicker sole and a contoured foot pad will give your foot more support than a flat and thin sole.
Straps: If you find you are scrunching your toes or changing how you walk to keep your sandals on, then try a sandal with more supportive strapping across the back and front.
Material: The American Podiatric Medical Association recommends high quality fabrics, such as soft leather, that will not cause blistering or irritation to the foot.
Replace: Sandals wear out! Replace them every year or when your sandals start to show wear and tear.
If you think you may have developed plantar fasciitis, please contact AZOPT for your complimentary consultation or an evaluation. Treatment can be relatively simple. The goals of treatment include:
- Relieving inflammation and pain
- Improving strength and flexibility of the foot and ankle
- Wearing proper and supportive footwear
If you’re experiencing foot pain, consider physical therapy. AzOPT is here to help!