Healthy Magazine: avoiding plantar faciitis in Flip Flops

Wearing flip-flops is great, but the pay-off can be stress to the tissues of the foot, possibly resulting in plantar fasciitis

By Claire Lavelle Healthy Magazine 3rd July 2015

As lovely as it is to feel the breeze cooling our overheated tootsies, there’s a payoff: wearing flip flops places stress on the tissues of the foot, the plantar fascia, which results in the tissues becoming inflamed and painful.

Watch out for: Gripping with your toes – The unattached heels on flip flops allow extra motion in the foot which encourages gripping of the toes, which we do unconsciously to stop the shoe falling off.

Pain under the heel or arch – Often a sign of straining the plantar fascia. It happens due to poor support from the thin flat sole of a flip flop (or ballet pump).

Calf, achilles and shin pain – Flip flops affect gait (walking) pattern which may results in certain muscles being overworked and cause pain.

HOW TO FIX IT: Know your feet – People with high arched foot (generally associated with a short tight plantar fascia) or a flat foot (associated with a long loose plantar fascia) should take extra care in choosing footwear. Think about finding with secure toe and ankle steps to prevent your toes gripping.

Strengthen the foot – Work the muscles deep inside the foot itself. Try doing either a Mexican wave with your toes by raising the big toe without the rest and then repeat all the way to your little toe. Alternatively you can put a piece of paper beneath your toes and try to scrunch the piece of paper up. Both seem difficult at first, but with practice they’ll really help build up the deep muscles of your feet.

Ask a specialist for a soft tissue release massage – Release calf tightness by stretching and ask a specialist to massage your calves for the ultimate in lower leg TLC.

With thanks to Hayley Jasper, Specialist Lower Limb Physiotherapist from Six Physio

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