Mind & Body
Steps for Healthy Feet this Summer
6/1/2020 10:00:25 AM
Healthy Feet

Summer is the season of bare feet, flip flops and outdoor fun in the sun. These are also among the top reasons foot doctors see an increase in patients during the summer.

"There are definitely certain types of foot problems that we see much more of in the summer months,” says Dr. Tyson Green, foot and ankle specialist with Center for Orthopaedics. "Summer footwear and warm-weather activities lead to a variety of problems, including heel pain, arch pain, sprains, and other conditions.”

While high heels and strappy sandals may seem like the obvious source of foot pain an injury, Dr. Green says wearing flip flops may actually cause more problems. "Many people believe wearing flip flops is a way to give their feet a break, but the opposite is true.”  

To fully understand why this type of footwear is so bad for your feet, he says you need to think about the mechanics involved with every step you take. Our feet bear our full body weight and play a big role in maintaining our balance. Each time your foot hits the ground, the arch is supposed to be able to absorb shock.  That’s why good footwear is structured with an arch support. Flip flops, however, have a spongy sole, so when the foot hits the ground, it rolls inward, and this locking mechanism is released, and the arch flattens. "This is called pronation,” explains Dr. Green. "It can lead to pain in the heel, the arch, the toes and in the forefoot, and the exacerbation of ‘flat feet,’ which can contribute to many other musculoskeletal problems, including hip and back pain.”  

Dr. Green adds that flip-flops, and other flat and/or flimsy sandals with minimal structure, don’t hold the foot in position like most shoes do, which forces the wearer to overuse tendons and muscles in the foot and ankle to hold them on. This is often the cause of tendinitis and ankle sprains. "This doesn’t mean you can’t wear flip flops at all, but they should be worn only for short periods of time,” cautions Dr. Green. "And try to choose one of the newer styles that do include some arch support.” 

Flip flops are not the only summer foot risk. Dr. Green says athlete’s foot is a greater concern in the summer. Warmer weather brings an increased risk of spreading the condition because of all the extra bare feet running around. He says you can reduce the risk by keeping feet as dry as possible, wearing pool or shower shoes in wet areas, applying sweat absorbing foot powder as needed, and choosing socks that wick moisture away from the feet. 

Another summer foot risk is sunburn. "People often forget to apply sunscreen to their feet, and because the skin on your feet is not exposed as often as other parts of your body, it can be very sensitive to sunburn and blistering,” says Dr. Green. "It’s important to put sunscreen on your feet and reapply frequently.”

All the sweating, swelling, and outdoor activity in the summer can lead to other foot issues, such as corns and blisters. Dr. Green says the best way to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place is to wear supportive shoes and socks whenever you are active. "If they do occur, try putting blister pads over the blisters and unmedicated donut pads over the corns.” 

Summer is prime pedicure season, but Dr. Green says it’s important to choose your salon carefully. "The most important factor to is how they sterilize their equipment. It should be treated in an autoclave,” stresses Dr. Green. "This sterilization process is used in medical facilities and is critical for preventing infection. The way you’ll know if a salon uses autoclave is if a sealed pack of instruments is opened when they begin your treatment service.”  

He advises skipping the foot soak, which is a very common source of fungal infections. "Unless you know for certain that the foot tub is cleaned thoroughly after each client, or they use a bag device to line the tub, don’t put your feet in.” says Dr. Green. "Smoothing rough skin with a pumice stone or emery board is fine, but don’t allow a pedicurist to use a razor for this purpose. This can lead to cuts and infection.  And don’t have your cuticles trimmed. Your cuticles are the nails’ last defense and should only be gently pushed back.” 

If you expect your feet to take you through a fun-filled, active summer, Dr. Green says you need to make sure they are ready for the job.

Call the Center for Orthopaedics at (337) 721-7236 if you need an appointment for a foot concern, or visit www.centerforortho.com. 

Posted by: Kristy Armand | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Health

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