In the past 21 years of my massage practice, almost every autumn since I began, there has been an uptick of clients marching in (well, limping in, actually) with foot pain and leg fatigue. The first few years I could not make the connection between the time of year and the trend. Finally I figured it out—it’s all about the flip-flops! Flip-flops, slides and even some types of clogs can make the feet unhappy by summer’s end, resulting in plantar fasciitis, stiffened toes, sore knees and even sore hips and low backs.
These unsupportive shoes make the toes and the calves work overtime to keep them on the foot. The muscle tension can be very subtle, but over time can create havoc. By summer’s end, when it’s time to put on more supportive shoes and boots, their extra structure seems to shock the feet even more.
Some flip-flops have more arch support than others—they are fine for when it is beastly hot outside and you are doing a quick run to get the newspaper, or are headed to your backyard, the beach, the pool or to a neighbor’s house nearby.
The worst are the ones really designed to be worn in a public shower for hygiene reasons. Avoid wearing those, unless of course you are wearing them for the intended use!
Feet are happiest when they are in shoes that tie (lace), buckle or have some sort of secure fastener (Keen bungee cords, for example). Feet should be able to roll from heel to toe with each stride, with you taking confident steps. If you are shuffling, tightening your calves or clenching your toes, it’s a bad sign.
If you stop wearing flip-flops in spring and summer, I may have fewer clients in the fall—but you will have happier feet!
For more ideas about foot care, foot reflexology and sports massage, please make an appointment to visit my studio—spring, summer, winter or fall!