Suddenly getting foot pain this summer?
Notice pain under the foot?
Worse in the mornings or after sitting still for long periods?
The Flip Flop Controversy
Here at #NFSM we love it when the warmer weather arrives and it’s time to put on flip flops and sandals. However, we are aware that this can cause disruption to the body with foot pain, knee pain, hip pain and/or back pain.
Plantar fasciitis is a common foot ailment that Osteopaths help to treat. It is known for pain and inflammation in the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes. We mainly see this after patients have worn flip flops or when we start wearing wellies.
The primary concern lies in the amount of arch support provided by our favourite shoes. While some degree of arch support is beneficial for individuals with certain foot conditions, excessive support can weaken the foot’s intrinsic muscles, including those that support the arch. This weakening of the muscles can lead to an overreliance on the shoe’s support, making the foot less capable of properly distributing the body’s weight and absorbing shock. Consequently, this can strain the planter fascia leading to inflammation and pain.
Why flip flops could aggravate plantar fasciitis:
- Excessive support: flip flops have dense arch supports which may cause the foot intrinsic muscles to weaken overtime, making the foot less adaptable to different surfaces and movements.
- Altered gait (our walking pattern): The raised heel and arch support in flip flops can alter the way you walk, potentially placing additional stress on the plantar fascia.
- Lack of customisation: Everyone’s feet are unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Flip flops have generalised design that may not provide adequate support or cushioning for individuals with specific foot structures.
- Overuse: The comfort of flip flops means we may wear them for extended periods, increasing the risk of overusing the same muscles and contributing to plantar fasciitis.
- Delayed pain: flip flops’ cushioning, and arch support might mask the pain associated plant fasciitis, leading individuals to continue walking with poor biomechanics, exacerbating the issue over time.
How to relieve your foot symptoms:
- Cold: Wrap an ice pack in a tea towel and place it on the base of your foot for 5-10mins. Remove for 5 mins and repeat as many times as required. This aims to reduce the inflammation.
- Stretching the Planta Fascia: gently stretch the part of fashion by flexing your toes and pulling them towards your shin. Hold for 60 seconds and repeat several times a day.
- Massage: Use a golf ball to help massage the bottom of your foot 2-5 mins. While seated place the ball under your foot and roll the ball around with a little pressure.
- Calf stretches: Place your hand on the wall, Step 1 foot back, and then the other knee. Keep your back leg straight and press the heel into the ground to fill the stretch in your calf muscles.
- Toe Towel Scrunches: Place a towel on the floor and use your toes to scrunch it towards you. This exercise helps strengthen the muscles in your feet.
- Marble Pickup: Scatter marbles on the floor and use your toes to pick them up and place them in a container. This exercise promotes dexterity and strengthen the foot muscles.
- Arch strengthening: Sit on the floor lift your toes while keeping your heels down this helps strengthen the arch muscles of the foot.
While flip flops may provide comfort and support, it’s essential to be mindful of their potential impact on your foot health. If you’re already dealing with planted fasciitis or are at risk of developing it, consider incorporating a variety of footwear options that provide a balance of support and flexibility. And don’t forget to engage in regular foot exercises to strengthen your muscles and maintain optimal foot health.
If you want to be living in flip flops over the summer our Osteopath Sally would recommend Archies Footwear. She has been wearing these for 2 years now and does not get hip pain like she used to in other flip flops.