Updated: May, 2022
On hot summer days, many of us slip into a pair of flip-flops, open-toed sandals, or go barefoot to let our feet breathe a little. Others take advantage of the warm weather to wear more fashion-forward shoes — like high heels or ballet flats. But summer footwear doesn’t always provide good arch support for your feet, particularly when you’re spending hours outside enjoying the sunshine.
A summer afternoon at a music festival or a playground visit with the kids can be interrupted by foot pain when your summer footwear is inadequate. In some cases, your choice of shoes can even affect other parts of your body, like your back or neck.
Common Causes of Foot Pain
People often experience more foot pain in the summer months due to increased activity. The nicer weather brings about the desire for more walking, running, and outdoor activities. A sudden increase in your daily movements can trigger foot-related conditions. Add to the mix of unsupportive footwear and hotter temperatures and you may end up dealing with a foot problem this summer.
There are conditions that cause foot pain (e.g. plantar fasciitis and arthritis), but there are also things that lead to foot pain (e.g. not wearing supportive shoes, a sudden increase in walking mileage, etc). Have you experienced any of the following conditions or changes in your daily habits?
Conditions that cause foot pain:
- Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis is a pain in your heel. It occurs when there is inflammation in the band of tissue on the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to the ball of your foot.
- Flat Feet/High Arches
- Stress fractures
External factors or personal choices that can lead to painful feet:
- Wearing shoes that don’t properly fit
- Wearing shoes with a lack of arch support (e.g. flip flops, flats, casual footwear – Toms, Converse, etc)
- Walking in bare feet (especially around the house with hardwood, tile, or vinyl flooring)
- A sudden increase in walking or running (frequency or duration)
How To Avoid Foot Pain This Summer
Here’s how you can avoid foot pain and problems this summer:
1. Match your footwear to your activity.
It probably goes without saying that shoes are designed for different purposes. If you’re running or hiking, you need shoes made specifically for those sports. If you’re heading to a music festival in the park, walking the dog, or doing other activities that involve walking, pick comfortable walking shoes.
Unsure what type of shoe you’ll need for different activities? Contact our team today to discuss any foot pain you experience.
2. Purchase shoes with proper arch support.
All shoes should support the instep of your foot (known as the longitudinal arch) and the arch along the ball of your foot (the metatarsal arch). If you’ll be standing for long periods of time, make sure your footwear has a lot of cushioning. It may be tricky to find sandals with good arch support, but it’s possible! The best shoes for foot pain are shoes that fit properly, provide arch support, and cushion your heel.
Unfortunately, flip-flops and other open-toed sandals are unlikely to have the support your feet need. Try to limit the amount of time you spend in flip-flops. If you’re going to be wearing sandals, it’s best to have a pair with a back strap or multiple straps.
There are a few manufacturers who make sandals with good arch support, for example, Birkenstocks, Clarks, and Ecco to name a few. You may have to spend a bit more money initially, but it will save you a lot of pain in the end!
If you have a favourite pair of shoes with little to no arch support, but you refuse to put them in the back of the closet, find a good pair of insoles for them. Make sure the insole has a hard plastic instep with a cushioned top foam layer. The instep support should be rigid and not made of only foam or gel. A few good brands are Superfeet, Sole, Sof Sole, and DuraCare. You can find these at Track ‘N Trail, Mark’s, or even Sport Chek.
If the ball of your foot starts getting sore and feels like you’re walking on a bruise, change your shoes or add a metatarsal pad to help support your metatarsal arch. A good pair of shoes will have a metatarsal pad already added to the insole. Look for a diamond-shaped pad about two thirds up from the heel of the insole, just slightly behind where the ball of the foot pushes down. If you need to buy a metatarsal pad, try going to Aspen Healthcare Store. It’s a bit of a speciality item and many pharmacies won’t carry them. You will likely need help to place them in the proper location, ask the staff at the store or contact us.
3. Use special shoes for special occasions only.
There’s no need to throw out the four-inch stilettos if you’re not in pain right now. But to avoid foot pain, keep them for special occasions and avoid walking or standing in them for long periods of time. Perhaps this means wearing them to the restaurant and window shopping later on in the walking shoes you’ve left in the car.
It’s always good to bring a pair of backup shoes with you that supports your arch and cups your heel. Especially if your special shoes are brand new or rarely worn. You don’t want blisters or swelling to put a damper on your fun.
4. Don’t ignore your foot pain and get help!
Don’t ignore your foot pain, if you’re experiencing foot problems our team is here to help. A physiotherapist can provide relief through a variety of techniques, including:
- Myofascial release
- Intramuscular stimulation (IMS)
- Teaching you exercises, stretches and more
- Acupuncture treatments
- Taping techniques (e.g. Athletic tape, Kinesiotape)
- Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)
Oftentimes, foot pain will go away with a change of shoes and some rest. However, if your feet are in pain, book an appointment.
No physician’s referral is needed and services may be covered by your health insurance.