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Are Your Flip-Flops Causing Your Foot Pain

Are Your Flip Flops Causing Your Foot Pain?

by Tara Hackney, PT, DPT, OCS, KTTPLeave a Comment

Flip flops and sandals are popular summer shoe options. However, these shoes often sacrifice support for an open toe. With many people wearing less supportive shoes in the summer months, foot injury rates may appear to increase during this time. Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that can affect people of all ages and we may see a higher rate of plantar fasciitis during the summertime.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is pain in the arch or in the heel of the foot. The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs in the arch of the foot. It is one of the many structures that supports the arch. The plantar fascia helps provide foot stability during walking for push off and it also helps with shock absorption. Many people with plantar fasciitis complain of the most pain over the inner portion of the heel. Their pain is often worse with weight bearing, first thing in the morning, or after prolonged sitting.

Why Do Flip Flops Matter?

Many flip flops and other sandal type shoes offer less arch support compared to tennis shoes. Arch support, either built in the shoe or inserts, can help take stress off the plantar fascia and decrease risk of injury. Many people find the use of orthotic shoe inserts helpful to manage foot pain; however these inserts do not work with flip flops or sandal style shoes. Therefore, wearing flip flops for prolonged periods in the summer can contribute to an increased incidence of plantar fascia pain.

  • How to prevent and treat plantar fasciitis
  • Avoid wearing less supportive shoes such as flip flops
  • Avoid walking barefoot and wear shoes around the house or supportive slippers
  • Use orthotic arch support inserts
  • Buy new shoes as our shoes lose their cushion after prolonged wear
  • Perform calf stretches
  • Perform stretches for the arch and big toe
  • Use a frozen water bottle to roll along the arch and heel to massage and treat inflammation
  • Use a tennis ball to massage the arch of the foot

Physical Therapy For Plantar Fasciitis

Physical therapy can be beneficial to treat plantar fasciitis pain. A physical therapist may assess the entire lower body chain to establish a plan to treat any asymmetries, muscle tightness, or fascia tightness. A physical therapist may use tools to help loosen tight areas such as dry needling, Graston/IASTM, or massage guns. The therapist will also teach you how to stretch and manage your symptoms yourself to decrease pain and return you to the activities you enjoy! To get started, request a free assessment at an Athletico location near you. Free Assessments are available in-clinic and online through our virtual Telehealth platform.

Schedule a Free Assessment

*Per federal guidelines, beneficiaries of plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, VHA and other federally funded plans are not eligible for free assessments.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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About the Author:
Tara Hackney, a physical therapist in Marion, IA, enjoys working with all patient types, especially gymnasts, cheerleaders, and dancers. She is the prominent blogger for Athletico's Gymnastic/Cheer Program. With an orthopedic specialization and training in dry needling and Graston technique, Tara hopes to answer your questions about injuries and injury prevention in an easy-to-understand manner. She hopes to ease fears surrounding pain and injuries, address concerns about recovery, and provide tips to prevent injury. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dog, reading, and watching her nephews play sports.

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