Summer Foot Health Problems – part 1
We are lucky enough to have had some gorgeous weather whilst we have been in lockdown. This has resulted in people wearing flip flops and sandals much earlier than normal. And because we haven’t been going out and about as much, people have spent more time in lightweight slip-on footwear.
The problem with most flip flops and sandals:
is that they have no heel or arch support which puts our feet under more stress. They generally have a much lower heel height than our normal shoes, therefore you can imagine the extra distance the heel has to stretch just to reach the ground. This increases the risk of developing plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendon problems. You can check how much extra pressure you are putting on your feet by placing your normal shoes/trainers next to your sandals. As a guide your sandals should be no less than half the height of the normal shoe heel thickness.
If you do like to wear much flatter styles, then it is important to prepare your body first. Stretching your calves will help to maintain flexibility at the ankle joint, lengthen the calf muscles so that your heel can more comfortably sit in a horizontal plane, and help to prevent heel pain and Achilles tendon issues. Download this guide to Calf stretches or ask for advice at your next appointment.
A very flat insole offers no arch support and can lead to the foot rolling in excessively. This can also cause heel and calf pain. Exercises can help here as well – the aim is to strengthen the muscles that form the arch of your foot which will help prevent the arch rolling towards the ground. Down load these Arch strengthening exercises
Sandals and flip flops by their nature also have less material to hold the shoe to the foot. This can make the toes claw as they have to grip to hold onto the shoe. If your toes are starting to become misshapen, make sure you spend time without shoes on so that they can wiggle and stretch.
What should I be wearing?
Of course, no one wants to be wearing sensible lace-ups in hot weather! So when you are choosing summer foot wear, here are some things to look out for:
- a contoured insole to provide support
- a cushioned insole for shock absorption
- a slight lift under the heel
- a strap or fastening across the mid-foot to help hold the sandal securely to your foot.
The Vionic range from Simply Feet address these issues, check them out here.
If you have new sandals it is important to wear them inside with socks at first. This stretches the sandal material and there will be less chances of blisters occurring.
Blisters can occur wherever the sandals contact the skin, if a blister occurs do not pop it. Instead cover it with a plaster and contact the clinic so we can treat this correctly and ensure it heals. However if a blister bursts, clean the area with sterile gauze, apply an antiseptic solution and then a plaster to prevent infection from entering the wound.
Read part 2 next week…