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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
TheFootMechanic.com

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As Running Events Increase in Number, So Do Overuse Injuries

As the number of available running events are on the rise, so too are those overuse injuriesassociated with increased training volumes. In fact, in a study published by Dr .D. Cosca, MD,University of California Davis Sports Medicine Program (Common problems in endurance athletes), he finds that “… intensive training and inadequate recovery leads to the breakdown in tissues reparative mechanisms and eventually to overuse injuries.” The real problem is the creation of the condition called “tendinosis.” Normal “tendinitis” is a common injury condition which, if treated correctly, leads to a healing response and ultimate restoration of that tissues integrity. Tendinosis, on the other hand, is a function of inadequate resting of a tendinitis. If the injured tissue is not allowed to go through its normal healing process, it enters into a vicious cycle of repeated micro trauma while disallowing the reparative properties of its blood supply. As the degenerative properties of the tissue progresses, it becomes more difficult to treat. The finality of this deleterious process may ultimately lead to tissue rupture. Major areas of diagnostic concern are plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, medial tibial stress syndrome, patellofemoral syndrome, iliotibial band friction syndrome, stress reactions, stress fractures, and other problems up the kinetic chain. The best way to prevent one of these injuries from limiting your training is to attack it early. Early intervention includes following the acronym “RICE:” Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Unfortunately, it is ingrained in the marathoner’s mindset to ignore early symptoms and power through their regimented training programs. What he or she fails to recognize is that losing 1-2 weeks of their training programs is better than the alternative- losing 1-2 months. By following the correct treatment regimen, a visit to the local physician or physical therapist would be the next step. A custom biomechanical assessment and even custom foot orthotics may be appropriate, depending on such factors as over-pronation, leg length discrepancies or muscle imbalances.