As I approach the summer, the number of patients coming in who go barefoot at home, and wear minimal foot gear during the day increases. It’s totally understandable given the fact that we at least want to pretend summer’s here, dress down, and give our feet some air.
Here are some tips on how to keep foot loose and worry free.
First, remember that no matter how much you love shedding those shoes, being barefoot all day for most of us, is too much. There are a select number of people who with the right training and the right foot, can be coached in barefoot running. For the rest of us however, who are carrying on a full load of household and play activities, a limited amount of time without closed shoes will not hurt you. That means, however, for the rest of our day, our feet need support to carry our load.
With that said and done, the question is, how much support is enough? Can we get by wearing thongs/flip flops? Are Tevas and other “supportive” sandals supportive enough?
To answer this question, you may need to be honest with yourself regarding how much support usually feels good with in each activity. Thus, if you’re lucky enough to have a good arch, you may be fine around the house barefoot or in sandals, but you are probably better off wearing more supportive shoes for extended standing or walking activities.
Second, open backed shoes, such as Crocs and Merrills are likely more supportive than thongs/flip flops, they still should be used a limited amount of time. The reason for this is very simple. The closed back of a shoe and the full lacing adds a tremendous amount of support to your foot. So, yes, if you’re going to be on your feet all day, travelling, or hiking, you should be wearing a supportive athletic shoe or light weight hiking shoe.
Third, remember that even the best athletic shoes come with a very flimsy arch support. That means spending more and adding at least an over the counter full length support such as Powerstep. It truly will make a world of difference in helping you avoid developing chronic foot strain or plantar fasciitis.
Lastly, beware of stepping on foreign objects while you’re foot loose. A recent traveler came in and after performing bathroom surgery elected to have me take a look. Multiple spines had to be removed and the foot can become infected easily once an object penetrates the skin. If you suspect you’ve stepped on something foreign, have a foot specialist evaluate you as soon as possible. We really do want to keep you foot loose and worry free!
If you're experiencing foot pain, call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.