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Flip Flops and Bare Feet Can Cause Heel Pain

Summer is almost here! We are shedding our layers pretty quickly and getting prepared for the hot months ahead. Sweaters are replaced with t-shirts, pants replaced with shorts, and closed-toed shoes are replaced with flip flops or even no shoes at all. Flip-flops, sandals, and being barefoot can be beneficial to your feet in hot months, but they can also cause some heel pain and discomfort.


As we talked about in a previous blog, our feet serve as a foundation for the rest of our bodies. They naturally act as cushions and pressure absorbers, but the surfaces that we walk on every day can be hard on our feet and legs. Concrete, stone, and hardwood do not offer any help to absorb pressure. So, our feet need some extra love to be our body’s support.


That extra love comes in the form of footwear. Most pairs of sandals or flip-flops do not have good arch support. That means that your feet feel all of the impact from anything they encounter.


Here’s an interesting fact —


Flip-flops and sandals can actually change the way that you walk. To keep them on, most of us do a weird little shuffle walk. We naturally take shorter steps closer to the ground. The more we do this, the more natural it becomes. Wearing flip-flops too often and walking this way for too long can cause intense heel and even knee or back pain.


We’re not saying get rid of your flip-flops, don’t worry!


On the contrary. Letting your feet and toes breathe for a bit can help prevent fungal buildup and infections.


Just keep some important information in mind this summer.


Wear your flip-flops sparingly — Doing things around the house? Lounging by the pool or on the porch? Perfect! Wear those flip-flops with no support. However, if you have plans to go to the store, walk up the block, or stand for a long time, grab some shoes with substantial support. You’ll thank yourself later.


So what summer shoes can you wear?


We all picture ugly shoes when we think of options that are good for our feet. Shop around though! There are some cute pairs out there with the right support for your feet.


Here are some tips when looking for some new summer shoes


  1. Flimsy and flat? Not going to cut it. — Find shoes with arch support that feels comfortable for your foot.

  2. Sandals with adjustable heel straps are great — Straps keep your feet held in place so you don’t have to shuffle instead of walk.

  3. Check out the bottom grip — a rubber outsole is great for walking on a variety of terrains

  4. More activity means you will need more support — Think about your plans and find a shoe that will provide the most support and protection.


If you do have trouble with heel pain, or any kind of foot or ankle pain, come see our amazing podiatrists at Gulf South Foot and Ankle. We are conveniently located in Metairie, Covington, and Prairieville.

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