Summer Foot Hazards

Statistically, the summer time is when we see the most occurrences of foot pain in the areas of the heel, the arch, the back of the heel, with diagnoses ranging from tendonitis to ankle sprains.

The main culprit of these issues this time of year are warm weather wear such as flip flops. These shoes, which generally give the impression to be “easy” and “comfortable,” usually provide little to no arch support, no arch base, and no small heel for support to keep pressures off certain structures of the foot. Some believe that the flatter the shoe (like ballet flats), the better it is for your foot. That is not true. These shoes, in severe cases when worn too often, can lead to knee, hip and back problems and plantar fasciitis. It is a misconception that the best position for your foot is flat. It is actually with a small heel.

Flip flops offer minimal protection for your feet, leaving them exposed to splinters and other foot injuries.

Second, they provide no arch support. And third, when you walk with flip flops your toes have to work extra hard to grip to the flip flops with every step you take, and cause undue strain on your joints. In extreme cases of long-term wear, they can lead to hammertoes, mallet toes or claw toes.

Flip flops are not recommended for driving. Often the flip flop is pushed up and almost out of your foot as your heel rests on the mat so you can push on the accelerator. The flip flop can fold and wedge underneath the break and the accelerator, creating a big driving safety hazard.

We are not saying never wear flip flops. Make sure you wear flip flops for short periods of time when you can’t do without. Also, better to choose flip flops that offer more support: with firm material, stiff soles, and a supportive base to give better arch support. The “Reef” brand is one you can try. You can try to look for one with a strap on the heel to hold on to your foot.

Wedges and sandals should also be chosen wisely: An advantage of platforms is that you can wear a higher heel but have a smaller slope to the toe box because of the platform. Platform shoes and wedges tend to have a rigid foot bed which does not allow the foot to bend and straighten when you walk normally. This may throw off the biomechanics of the foot as well as cause balance issues. A better option is a flatter platform that keeps your foot more parallel to the floor.

Pedicure: It is very important to make sure the tub’s jets and drains are disinfected prior to each new client. Instruments are also a source of spreading fungus from a previous client to you. Be sure to ask for newly disinfected instruments! Just because they are being pulled out of the plastic bag does not mean they were disinfected before they were put in the bags!

We also recommend to keep your cuticles: removing them removes a layer of protection to keep infection and fungus out of the nails. And it is a good idea to give your toenails a breather every once in a while! No nail polish is the best practice against nail fungus.

Going barefoot: We always recommend wearing some form of foot covering. You can pick up fungus and bacteria, especially from damp floor surfaces, not to mention other hazards such as glass and debris that can cause cuts and splinters to your feet.

If you notice anything unusual, like yellowing nails, peeling and itchy feet, pain in your foot, please come in for an evaluation.