Avoiding Pain While Wearing Summertime Footwear
As the temperatures start to rise and the ground warms beneath your feet, you may feel the natural urge to ditch your heavy shoes. A pair of light and airy flip-flops or slides seem just the right match for long, sunny days.
Not so fast. What appears to be a harmless rite of passage this time of year may be causing pain issues that you never connected before. Prepare yourself for an enjoyable and healthy season ahead by learning how to avoid the pain caused by common summer footwear.
How can summer shoes be harmful?
The answer comes down to the crucial role our feet play in our overall health. Our feet stabilize us and serve as the foundation for our balance, the way we walk and our posture. They must be well-cushioned, protected and secure to perform at their best.
That is where the troubles begin. Here are some common design problems of popular summer footwear:
- Flipflops and slides are notorious for providing limited cushioning and little foot and ankle support. They cause your feet to contact the ground differently, which puts pressure on outside edges rather than heels. The contact causes a slight rotation of the leg, changes the angle of the pelvis and increases the tension of the lower spine.
- These flimsy shoes even cause you to walk differently. Your toes must grip or tense just to secure this type of footwear, which puts an unusual strain on your toes, feet, hips and lower back. Your stride becomes shortened and unnatural. This strain leads to problems with posture and walking that will worsen over time.
- Because of the construction of flipflops and slides, there is an increased risk of falling, tripping or twisting an ankle. Many summer trips to the emergency room started by wearing these barely-there sandals.
What are some alternative summertime footwear options?
Engineers and developers have joined forces to produce great alternative footwear. Check out some of the best here:
- Crocs: practical shoes were made for individuals who work in and around water. They provide noslip, rigid soles, strong interior support and heel cups. They do not cause a change in your natural walking stride. Even surgeons and nursing staff are famous for wearing Crocs.
- Sneakersandals and sports-sandals: Many shoe designers are responding to an increasingly casual and health-conscious population. The result has been a versatile line of sneaker-sandals and sports-sandals These sandals give the “best of both worlds” by providing the sturdiness and protection of shoes with the soft materials, open designs and flexible construction of flip-flops and slides. Some brands in this rapidly-developing line of footwear that do an excellent job bringing the best elements together include Chacos, Keens and Tevas.
What if I cannot give up my flip-flops?
If the thought of a summer without flip-flops causes you distress, seek direction from leading chiropractors about how to wear them wisely. Be sure that you have these guidelines in place:
- Use them for their intended purposes: If you wear flipflops or slides for walking around your yard, into the shower or bathhouse or beside pools and lakes, you have few worries. Avoid using them for long walks, shopping trips, exploring theme parks, etc.
- Listen to your body: The more that you ignore the pain in your body, the more your body will have to compensate, which will put a strain on the surrounding muscles and joints. Ignoring wise counsel will result in cumulative damage and injuries to many parts of your body.
- Take it slow: Whatever you do in your flipflops or slides, make sure that you do so cautiously. Avoid running, jumping or moving sideways, even if your pain has ended. You may be susceptible to reinjury.
What are other ways to eliminate pain?
Don’t just leave your health to chance. Your body is intended to run efficiently. Give it the best opportunities with a holistic approach:
- Stretch your muscles and joints daily: Follow a set routine for warming your muscles and joints through exercise. Find a program that is right for you, including yoga, Pilates or tai chi.
- Build muscle and bone density through the use of free weights and exercise bands: Increase resistance slowly, paying close attention to any pain signals your body sends. Build repetitions and frequency over time.
- Seek chiropractic care to keep your body in optimal condition: Chiropractic care has been found to ease pain in the lower back, glutes and legs. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that military personnel who were treated with a combination of traditional and chiropractic care healed faster and performed better than those who received only traditional treatment.
By wearing your favorite summer footwear sparingly, looking for recently developed alternatives, and following sound chiropractic guidelines, you are well on your way to experiencing a productive, pain-free summer.
If you are experiencing foot pain from flip-flops or other summer footwear, call us today or make an appointment here.