Summer is finally here and that means it is time to let our feet breathe and breakout the summer sandals from our closet. Although your favorite pair of high heels or summer flats may look very cute and summery, they may not be the best for your body.
Most flip flops or sandals offer little to no arch support, which may lead to higher shock absorption through your foot and knee. This may lead to tendon and muscles strains through your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. If you already have flat arches, wearing shoes with little to no support is putting you at even greater risk for developing soft tissue or joint injuries. When wearing flip flops, you tend to scrunch your toes more to keep the shoe on your foot. This may lead to overuse of your foot muscles leading to pain and discomfort.
Although high heels are very stylish and make you feel taller, wearing any heel over 1 inch will create a change in your body posture, which can lead to injuries over time. By making your heels higher than your toes, your center of gravity shifts forward, changing the natural position of your feet, knees, hips, and spine. Your feet are in a more plantarflexed position (toes pointed down), which puts increased pressure on the ball of your foot. High heels typically have a narrow toe box, which may lead to bunions, hammertoes, calluses, and blisters.
When walking in high heels, you are not able to push off the ground as easily since your calf muscles are in a shortened position. This causes your hip flexors to work harder to help propel yourself forward. Your knee remains in a more bent position, which puts increased pressure on the inside of the knee, a very common site of osteoarthritis in women. Wearing high heels also alters the natural alignment of your back. Over time, this change in alignment can put stress on your joints, discs, and ligaments leading to back pain.
Even though high heels and flip flops are not the best for our feet, I am not suggesting you go and throw away all the Jimmy Choos or Manolo Blahniks out of your closet. Wearing them in moderation is fine. Listen to your feet and discontinue wearing shoes that cause any discomfort. When shopping for new sandals for this summer, look for ones that have some support so that your feet can happily carry you through the season.