When the summer months arrive, we typically see an increasing number of patients with the common complaint of Heel Pain or Plantar Fasciitis. You may be experiencing similar problems and wondering, what is causing your pain? And why does it occur during the summer months? Well, the solution to your problem is probably due to your FOOTWEAR!
We all love letting our feet breath and easily slipping into those comfortable sandals during the hot summer months, but we typically neglect what is best for the structural support of our feet. NO WORRIES! I wanted to educate you on what may be causing your heel or arch pain and provide you with some information that may help you select the best “type” of sandal for your feet.
Reasons why your Sandals may be causing or worsening Heel Pain:
There are a variety of reasons why your sandals could be causing or aggravating your heel or arch pain. The most common factors are due to Lack of Support. When the sides of the sole, arches and heel of the sandal are flat and non-supportive it affects the biomechanics of your foot as you walk. In these conditions your foot is prone to injury because the decreased arch support can cause your foot to over-pronate, which exerts excess strain on the ligaments and plantar fascia (Plantar Fasciitis). It can also promote or aggravate bony growths on the calcaneus (Heel Spur), which digs into the fat pad of your heel, causing pain at the heel during any weight bearing motion. When the soles of the sandal are thin, flimsy and poorly padded, your heels’ fat pad is forced to absorb greater amounts of shock, which damages the underlying structures and ultimately affects the dispersal of weight throughout the entire lower extremity.
We understand that sometimes “fashion” may be the price you are willing to pay for comfort, but there are thousands of different stylish sandals on the market. As you are looking for a new pair of sandals, please consider four easy factors when making your selection.
1) Properly Padded Shoe with Arch Support.
2) Thick and Durable Soles that is Semi-Rigid.
3) Support and Control of the Rearfoot.
4) Protection and Support along the Sides, Toes and Heel.
Yes, we know that in the past, orthotics have not been glamorous and the guidelines above do not always agree with the “fashionable” sandals you prefer. However, you would be very surprised by the number of new, stylish sandals and foot friendly designs that are currently available on the market. If you do not believe us, then please check out some of the following manufacturers and companies that we believe offer stylish and supportive summer sandal options.
- Vionic by Orthaheel (which we carry here at AFAS)
- Orthaheel (which we carry here at AFAS – Tide and Wave II designs)
- New Balance
This is a short list of companies that have had great feedback in terms of style, protection and support for summer sandals options. Please remember, if you need orthotics and plan on using them with your sandals, it is extremely important that you FIRST purchase the sandals (usually sandals with a removable foot bed) and have the orthotic made to fit the sandal. We want you to have the most comfortable summer as possible, so if you have any questions or wish to discuss the best possible sandals for your foot type than please come see us and we would be happy to assess your individual needs.
Always remember, your Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists are just a hop, skip and flip-flop away from helping you enjoy your summer in comfort!!