Avoid Summer Foot and Toe Pain
If you want to look after your feet and prevent foot pain and injuries there are some simple preventative measures you can take which can have a major effect on the likelihood of you suffering from foot and toe injuries. One type of shoe which is all but guaranteed to get a podiatrist sighing in dismay is the flip-flop. The summer stalwarts have recently been given a big thumbs down by doctors at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in a recent news release, with the Institute for Preventative Foot Health also voicing concerns over the role flip flops play in poor foot health. If you want to avoid foot and toe pain this summer, limiting flip flop use is a wise precaution.
Executive director of the Institute for Preventive Foot Health – Bob Thompson – says flip flops are nothing but bad news for the feet. Associate professor of podiatric medicine at Temple’s School of Podiatric Medicine – Dr. Kathya Zinszer – says “They are terrible for the arches. They give you no support and they don’t protect your feet”, and The National Institutes of Health, are telling us they are the “arch enemy” of the feet. Even the American Podiatric Medicine Association says they are only good for the shower, the beach or very short periods of wear.
The more you wear this type of footwear, the higher the chance of developing foot problems will be. For the most part flip flops are cool and comfortable, and certainly have their place in the summer wardrobe. However they should only be used for short periods and for specific activities, such as around the house or going to the beach or pool if you want to avoid foot and toe pain. The problem for many people is that they are worn for longer periods throughout the summer and even for long walks, cycling, driving, and even skateboarding and sport.
Flip Flops and Toe Pain
When wearing flip flops the movement of the toes changes considerably from barefoot walking or even walking in standard shoes. In order to keep flip flops on the feet the toes need to grip when walking, and this positioning is unnatural. For anything other than a short walk, the toes will be made to work much harder and overuse injuries become much more likely to occur.
However the main problem for the toes is the fact that they are incredibly exposed, making the chance of a toe trauma more likely. Since, the grip offered by most flip-flops is poor and the thin and flexible soles can easily catch on uneven ground, trips, slips and falls are far more likely when wearing flip flops than being barefoot or when wearing standard shoes. If you spend most of the summer in these sandals your toes are likely to be in for a hard time. Flip flops and foot and toe pain tend to go hand in hand, whether its cuts and grazes, stubbed toes or more serious traumas.
Poor Stability Makes Foot Problems More Likely
Even for the sure footed, the lack of stability in the heel is a major problem and the sides of the feet are unsupported making injuries more likely. With the heel totally unsupported and with a lack of lateral stability there is excessive movement of the ankle which means twists and sprains are common. However it is the lack of arch support which is arguably the most serious insufficiency in this type of shoe. The flat soles offer no support and this can spell trouble, especially for wearers with low arches.
In flip flops the stride tends to be shorter which has a tendency to cause a greater degree of pronation. The foot rolls inwards more with each step, and greater inward rolling causes a greater strain on the feet. More pressure and force is exerted on the big toe, the arches over flatten and foot arch pain can easily be caused. If you tend to overpronate when walking or have low arches, your feet need proper arch support. Totally flat shoes such as flip-flops offer none and could lead to foot problems or certainly foot pain developing over the summer.
Are All Flip-Flops Bad for the Feet?
If you have normal foot arches you should be fine in flip flops; however the important thing to remember is that they are not a good footwear choice to wear all the time. If you are to buy a pair avoid the cheaper brands which can be found in drug stores, and spend a little more for models which will offer more comfort and support. Fabric or leather straps will reduce the risk of blisters, corns and callused skin, and an orthotic insole or contoured footbed is important to give the arches some support.
Other key features which are important for foot health are a deep heel cup to offer greater stability and a heel strap to keep them secure on the feet. You should also limit wearing flip flops to the beach, the pool, shower and around the house and always opt for a more supportive summer sandal if you plan to walk for more than a few hundred yards if you want to avoid foot and toe pain. If you want to partake in high impact sports in the summer, you will still need to wear athletic shoes which have been designed to give proper support, cushioning and protection for the feet.
Summer Sandals for Healthy Feet
Outdoor sandals designed for walking such as those made by Birkenstock, Teva, Merrell, Keen and The North Face are going to be much better for your feet in the summer due to the improved stability and contoured insoles. They all have greater rigidity in the soles to prevent torsion and can reduce the chance of getting foot fatigue and suffering aching and painful feet.
Orthaheel sandals are a great all round choice for good foot health thanks to an excellent orthotic footbed. Orthaheel sandals are even sold with a 30 day guarantee that they will relieve pain from walking. If you suffer from bunions take a look at these bunion friendly shoes.