For many women, the arrival of warm weather is the signal that launches the season of sandals, flip-flops, and pedicures. These are also three of the top reasons women experience more foot problems in the summer.
There are definitely certain types of foot problems that we see much more of in spring and summer. 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 sandals may seem like the obvious source of foot pain an injury actually causes more problems. Many people believe wearing flip-flops is a way to give their feet a break, but the opposite is true.
To understand why this type of footwear is so bad for your feet, he said, you have 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 “locked” 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. It can lead to pain in the heel, the arch, the toes and in the forefoot, and the development of flat feet, which can contribute to many other musculoskeletal problems, including hip and back pain.”
In addition flip-flops, and other flat or flimsy sandals with minimal structure, don’t hold the foot in a position like most shoes do, forcing the wearer to overuse tendons and muscles in the foot and ankle to hold them on. This is often the cause of tendonitis 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. Also, try to choose one of the newer styles that do include some arch support.
Flip-flops are not the only summer foot risk. Those pampering pedicures intended to keep your feet looking their best for sandal weather can have unintended results if caution is not used. Pedicures are becoming increasingly popular. A recent American Podiatric Medical Association survey of women ages 18-49, found that nearly 50 percent had received a professional pedicure by the age of 25. And while pampering and grooming your feet to promote good foot hygiene, Green said this is only true if you choose your salon carefully.
The most important factor to consider is how they sterilize their equipment. It should be treated in an autoclave.
This is the same type of sterilization process 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 said to skip the foot soak, which is a common source of fungal infections. Unless you know for certain that the foot tub is cleaned with an antibacterial solution after each client, don’t put your feet in.
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.
Cutting them provides an opening for bacterial and fungal infections. Other tips for safe pedicures include:
l Trim nails straight across, following the natural shape of the toe. Rounding the edges can lead to painful ingrown toenails.
l If you are having a manicure and pedicure done at the same time, separate instruments should be used for each to prevent the spread of bacteria.
l Do not apply polish is your toenails are discolored or cracked.
It’s well worth taking the time to properly care for your feet. If you expect them to take you through a fun-filled, active summer, you need to keep making sure they are ready for the job.