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Category: The Colorado Athlete

Why Do I Have Foot Pain When I Wear My Summer Flip-Flops/Sandals?

Finally it is summertime and warm enough to wear my array of flip-flops and sandals! Ah, the Sun, the fun and the rays but, why do my darned feet hurt so bad? In reality, flip-flops and sandals offer nothing in the way of foot support. They offer no arch support, heel cushioning or shock absorption. In fact if you look at them, most are just a flat piece of sponge with some flimsy straps to keep them attached to your feet. If you’ve invested in a higher in sandal (Teva, Chaco, Keen, Salomen, Reef, etc.), they still might not be giving you the necessary stability you need.

Wearing flip-flops and sandals forces the wearer to scrunch his or her toes to grip the device at the wrong time in the gait cycle. This action shortens the natural stride and forces the foot, hip, and knee muscles to work harder, which can result in other muscles shutting down. For example, hammer toes, a condition in which the toes are bent in a claw-like position, are the result of years of compensation from the small foot muscles. The lack of arch support in most flip-flops and sandals can cause for magnify conditions such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, metatarsalgia and other maladies up the kinetic chain (ankle, shin, knee, hip and even the low back).

Dr. Joel Brooke, DPM, podiatrists on the medical staff of Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano states, “When wearing your summer flip-flops or sandals, the first sign is usually a sharp or slight burning sensation which one typically ‘blows-off.’ Advancing, it can turn into a dull, aching, fatigue-like pain which can eventually radiate up your leg affecting all of the tissues and joints of your leg.”

He continues, “…a flip-flop or a sandal which is well constructed by medical practitioner, that provides good arch support, good cushion and shock absorption in the forefoot, can prevent or even mitigate the above problems.”

The Foot Mechanic™ is the only company who can provide you with a truly “movement-based” orthotic flip-flop or sandal. For more information, please click on the following link to learn more about The Foot Mechanic’s™ array of custom flip-flop and sandal options: The Foot Mechanic/flip-flop and sandals.

Dr. Brett Purdom, DPT, ATC, CSCS

Getting Back Into Shape Post Baby Could Be Causing Unexpected Pain And Fatique

Your shoes are laced, the baby is in the in the new running stroller and you are finally ready for your first walk/jog in an attempt to shed your extra baby weight. Ahh, how refreshing! Then, the next day it hits you: It may be foot pain, knee pain, hip pain, or back pain (or all of the previous) which causes an extra 15-30 minutes for you to get loosened up in order to face the world. It is easy to chalk this up to “being out of shape.” However, the old adage, “No Pain, No Gain” does not apply here. In fact, muscle soreness should abate within 48 hours after exercise. If it does not or worsens as you continue to exercise, you may be falling victim to a hormone called “relaxin.” Relaxin is a placental hormone which is released by a woman’s body in preparation for child birth. It is absolutely necessary as it causes ligamentous, muscle and tendon laxity which opens up the birth canal. If it were not for this hormone, the birth canal’s size would not accommodate the passage of the baby’s head during delivery. The underlying problem of relaxin is it is delivered through the blood as the fetus grows all the way through parturition (child birthing). So, besides creating space for the baby, it also softens the ligaments and tendons throughout all of the body’s weight-bearing joints. When looking exclusively at the foot, there are 26 bones and 106 ligaments which provide the foot with its arch structures and shock absorbing functions. As relaxin softens these 106 ligaments, it is not uncommon for women to complain that their shoe size has increased or their foot has “widened.” Additionally, complaints that their body and joints “don’t feel right,” or “are out-of-alignment” are common. It is important to address these aches and pains earlier, rather than later. The general rule in exercise physiology is it will take twice as long for these types of injuries to heal as from the time you first experience symptoms until the time you first start your intervention. If you have excessive arch breakdown (a.k.a pronation), a treadmill evaluation (biomechanical exam) can be done by The Foot Mechanic™. In many cases, an orthotic can be the answer. An orthotic is the device that replaces the liner in the bottom of your shoe and re-creates your normal arch thereby returning your foot back to its “normal” mechanics. When choosing  the proper orthotic, it is  important to avoid over-the-counter (a.k.a. retail) products as they are not custom to your feet.

Dr. Brett Purdom, DPT, ATC, CSCS
The Foot Mechanic™