Summer has arrived, and with the beginning of the warm weather, many of us choose sandals as our main choice of footwear. Unfortunately, sandals don’t offer our feet as much support as our regular footwear, and it is usually impossible to use your custom orthotics while wearing them. This often results in overworked muscles and tendons and increases the risk for ankle sprains. It is not uncommon for sandal wearers to develop tendinitis and plantar fasciitis during the summer months.
One of the more popular types of sandals is flip flops. Flip flop type sandals offer the foot NO arch support and NO heel support - the foot has no support or control. Birkenstock style sandals are also very popular. This style of sandal may have some degree of an arch, sometimes includes a strap around the ankle, and may offer some shock absorption. However, the arch support is not custom to your foot, and the sandal does very little in terms of controlling the foot.
Does this mean all is lost for sandal wearers? No! But there are three general rules that you should follow:
1. The sandal should fit your foot! Your foot should not hang off the back, sides or front edge of the sandal. If it does, you need a bigger size. The foot should sit completely on the footbed of the sandal.
2. You shouldn’t be able to bend the sandal. The sandal should be rigid through the middle. If you can bend the sandal in half or ball it up, throw it away! You are getting very little to no support if you can do this.
3. The sandal should have some sort of restraint in the mid-foot area and a strap around the ankle. This will ensure that your foot is held securely and has adequate support.
The best option, however, is incorporating your existing custom orthotic in your sandal. Some sandals have removable foot beds which can be removed and replaced with your existing custom orthotic. Other sandals have the custom orthotic embedded directly into it.
If you follow the above three rules and incorporate your custom orthotic when selecting your sandal, your can prevent many of the ailments that sandal wearers suffer from, which include plantar fasciitis, tired feet and lower back pain.
Make an appointment today and take a look at our selection of custom orthotic sandals (including Birkenstock, Naot and Alegria) and see how we can help your feet.
William Jacob, D.Pod.M.