Springtime is coming fast and before you know it you will be breaking out the open-toed shoes. Flip flops are a staple piece of your spring and summer wardrobe, but can sometimes cause pain after a while. If you want to know how to avoid the dreaded pain in your feet and avoid physical therapy, keep on reading!
Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about what you can do to avoid pain while wearing flip-flops and still get to wear your staple spring and summer shoe.
Let’s start with why you may get pain with wearing flip-flops. Wearing these types of shoes will alter your gait, or in other words, the way you’re walking. If you think about how you have to squeeze your toes to keep the flip flop on your foot and compare to what your toes do in sneakers, it is completely different. When you have to squeeze your toes to maintain the shoe on your foot, you are using different muscles and all your joints differently.
Another reason why you could be getting pain is because most flip flops or open toed shoes offer minimal to no arch support, heel cushion or shock absorption. When you go from wearing shoes with more support and shock absorption to one with very little, and don’t slowly start breaking them in or getting your foot used to that again, this can cause a lot of problems.
The top 3 most common conditions from wearing flip flops are:
- Plantar Fasciitis: There is a thick band of fibrous tissue running from your heel to your toes supporting the muscles in your arch called the plantar fascia. Due to a lack of arch support when wearing flip flops, this can cause the fascia to become over stretched causing inflammation or even micro tears of the fascia causing pain and discomfort in your foot.
- Tendinitis: there are tendons on either side of your ankle that hug your ankle bones; these tendons are designed to stabilize your ankles as well as help you push off after your heel leaves the ground. Wearing flip flops creates instability and places excess demand on these tendons which then cause tendinitis.
- Metatarsalgia: this is pain on the ball of your foot. Wearing flat shoes or flip flops causes excessive pounding and pressure on the joints that connects your toes to the metatarsals, or long bones of your foot. This can cause a lot of pain, aching or burning to this area and cause a lot of gait deformities which can then lead to other injuries due to compensating.
Now that you know why you are getting pain and discomfort from wearing flip flops, here are some ways you can keep your feet safe and pain free:
- Find shoes with firmer materials and have arch support or strap.
- Everything in moderation!! Don’t go 0-100 and wear them everyday once it starts getting warmer. Remember, the muscles you have to use to maintain the shoe on your foot are not being used as much in sneakers. For example, once the weather gets nice start out by wearing flip flops around the house to start getting your foot use to them again. Once you feel more comfortable, wear them twice a week and continually progress from there as you are feeling good in the shoes. My advice if you want to save yourself from a potential foot injury is not to start out wearing them 7 days a week.
- Avoid injuries by not running or jumping while wearing them.
- If you notice pain or discomfort after wearing them, make sure you wear supportive shoes for the next few days until it goes away.
- As always, if the pain persists, don’t push it off and think it will get better on its own. Seek medical specialists right away and start the journey to feeling better. Physical therapy is a great way to decrease the pain and also strengthen the areas that could be causing the pain. In physical therapy, we will explain why you are having pain, what areas are weak that could be leading to the pain, show you how to strengthen those areas and get you feeling good as new again!
For those of you who want to learn how to prevent any injuries and avoid any pain go to our website, Robbinspt.com for a free course on the foot and ankle and learn some exercises you can do right now to help strengthen and get ready for flip flop season.
If you are ready to get started right away, then do not hesitate to give a call at 610-841-3555 and get started on the path to healing right away.
Thanks all for now! Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below and if you sign up for a course you will be able to get to stay on top of all things Robbins Rehab!