It’s June, which means one thing - summer time is here!
And out of all the things I love about summer most - picnics, BBQs, flip-flops and ice cream, maybe you can guess which one of them may not be so good for you… Nope, it’s not the ice cream. It’s what you decide to wear on your feet.
As the weather warms up, it’s hard to resist the urge to break out your flip-flops or favourite summer sandals. They’re quick to slip on and take off, they let your feet stay cool and comfortable, and they don’t get wrecked if you decide to take a walk on the beach.
But here’s the thing, living in flip-flops this summer could keep you from enjoying it as much as you should!
You see, your standard flip-flop offers little support for your foot and ankle, provides minimal cushioning, puts you at greater risk of trips and falls, and most concerning for your lower back - causes you to walk differently than you would in a pair of shoes that support you.
Not only do you have to curl your toes to keep your flip-flops from slipping off while walking, you also shorten your stride for to keep them on - and all of this puts a lot of strain on your feet, hips and back muscles.
When you walk around in flip-flops your foot contacts the ground differently and places pressure on the outside edges, and less pressure through your heels (where it’s usually placed…)
This causes a slight rotation in your legs, which in turn puts your hips in awkward positions - meaning lots of tension, stiffness and pain in your lower-back!
Don’t get me wrong, flip-flops and sandals are great for public changing rooms and showers, and even for that quick walk into the garden, but with their lack of arch support and thin, floppy rubber soles, they’re NOT made for much else.
So, if you enjoy a gentle evening stroll along the sea front, or around the park whilst chatting with a friend, avoid wearing them at all costs.
If you’re going to be on your feet for a long time these shoes will provide very little support - not good for your feet, knees and back!
Next it’s important to pay attention to how your body feels.
This one in particular applies to the ladies who swap their high heels for ‘comfy’ summer sandals.
Don’t be surprised if after a two-week holiday when you’ve likely been wearing sandals all day, you suddenly develop a pain in and around the back of your ankle.
If you do it’s likely you’ve irritated your Achilles tendon - which can turn into a long term problem if you don’t listen to your body and switch up your footwear.
For the more adventurous who enjoy walking up hills, in the woods, or running for long distances in the sunshine - you’re going to need something a lot more sturdy on your feet.
And if you’re already suffering from something like a sore lower back, or have arthritic knees, it’s best to avoid hilly and uneven surfaces completely, and invest in a good pair of shoes that provide you with support AND comfort.
To sum up: what you wear on your feet could be the difference between walking pain-free, or walking in pain.
It’s important to look after your feet - they’re the foundation for your entire body.
For more tips like this to live with less back pain this summer, visit here where you can download my free tips report, packed full of advice to help ease back pain: www.paulgoughphysio.com/back-pain, or give us a call on 01429 866771 to request your copy.