Don't Flip flop on your health
Happy Fourth Everyone!
Backyard BBQ and beach days begin. With summer, I see an influx of patients with Plantar Fasciitis. Why does summer coincide with Plantar Fasciitis and foot pain you may ask? Two words: FLIP FLOPS.
Last year, I bit the bullet and actually bought a nice pair of $30 flip flops with arch support. Never again will I peruse the Old Navy 5$ flip flop wall buying every color imaginable. Not only are they not good for my feet, but honestly they didn’t last very long.
CLICK HERE for the flip flops I wear
So why are flip flops such an issue? The lack of arch support puts you at risk for Plantar Fasciitis.
Before we go into the how, let me explain what Plantar Fasciitis is. Fascia is a band or sheet of collagen connective tissue that connects muscle to bone. However, it also surrounds each muscle so that the muscles can glide on each other without getting “stuck”. In this case, the plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that starts at the base of the heel and fans out to the toes. It also has connections to the Achilles tendon. It’s job is to stabilize the arch of the foot. When irritated it causes pain in the origin of the heel. Some symptoms include pain when first waking up in the morning or after sitting for a long period of time. Overtime if you don’t improve your symptoms, the tissue can begin to calcify and cause a bone spur.
Most flip flops don’t have the arch support needed for your foot. They have flat skinny soles that don’t absorb the necessary impact of the ground, leaving your arch to do all the work. On top of that your body weight is not supported properly. How many times have your heel slipped when walking in your flip flips. This causes the Plantar Fasciitis to become strained.
Follow these steps to improve your plantar fasciitis:
1. Buy appropriate flip flops that support your arch.
2. Wear them moderately
3. Perform exercises that are going to stretch your 2 calf muscles: the gastroc and soleus
4. Perform exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the arch of the foot
5. Roll the bottom of your foot with a ball or a water bottle placed in the freezer
6. Possible to wear a night splint at night to keep your foot in dorsiflexion (or up) to reduce pain in the morning.
Want more specific exercises?
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Women's Health & Fitness Specialist.