The Dos and Don’ts for Sandal Season
Over one quarter of the bones of your entire skeleton are in your feet. Deciding what to wear on them should be a top priority. Between your two feet there are 52 bones, 66 joints and over 200 muscles and tendons. When treated poorly, your risk of injury increases exponentially.
Do – Ditch the plastic, single board “flip flop”. (the ones you get at a grocery store, clothing outlet and retail stores)
Don’t – Leave home without taking care of your feet.
Think about it this way, would you opt to purchase poor quality tires for your brand new vehicle?
Unsupported flip flops create a multitude of injuries. I have to say I am tempted to attach my business card to each flip flop I see in department, grocery and retail stores. Let’s face it, if you invest $10 or less on a pair of plastic single board flip flops, and then walk any distance, it is highly probable an injury will follow.
In the body there are small muscle groups and larger muscle groups. As your body starts to fatigue, usually the smaller muscle groups tire first. These small muscles often impact important joint positioning and associated function. When this happens the larger muscle groups pick up the slack as they are generally more powerful. Over time the larger muscles are forced to do more work. However, as the tired smaller muscles fail to support proper joint positioning, the function of the larger muscles becomes compromised and injuries to supporting muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints are probable. The principles described above are the same principles seen in the foot.
Within the foot the larger (long) flexors and extensors that operate the toes originate in the calf and run under and over the arch. The smaller muscles in the foot originate under the heel and through the midfoot. These muscles follow the arch of the foot in multiple layers ending at the toes.
When you wear a plastic flip flop your toes work extremely hard to hold that sandal on. They grip, pull and bend to keep that little plastic board on your foot. Overuse (walking all day in a flip flop, walking on the beach, hiking (Gasp and cringe!! I have seen this from the Bruce trail, Escarpment lookouts, to mountain hikes in Banff Alberta), you are bound to develop an injury (check out this article for interesting facts on plantar fasciitis). I came across the picture to the left and it perfectly depicted this experience. Injuries such as calf strain, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fascia conditions are all probable under these conditions.
Toe deformities such as clawing toes, hammer toes and mallet toes are all related to muscle/tendon dysfunction along with ligament and joint damage.
Do – Avoid injuries by adding a moulded sandal or a sandal that can accommodate your orthotics to your shopping list
Mephisto sandals such as the Helen and Zach models are built for optimal comfort. This brand of sandal has secured the top spot on the list of our most recommended sandals. The heel, arch and forefoot are tailored for comfort, function and the straps are designed strategically to reduce strain to the long flexors and extensors within the feet.
Many companies offer sandals that have the option of removing the foot bed to discreetly insert your custom orthotic. These sandals often include features that assist with comfort for all day wear. They are lightweight with a firm sole, include strategic strapping for security over the foot and ankle, and are available in a multitude of styles for various activities.
Don’t – Opt for cheap and poor quality sandals.
Good arch contour and gentle support reduce plantar foot strain and allow the joints, muscles and tendons in your foot to be positioned for better function. Adequate straps are placed and positioned on the sandal to allow the foot to work properly and reduce potential injuries.