It’s finally here- sandal season! Although this can be very exciting, it can aggravate your pain whether it’s new or old. One way to avoid this is to wear the best footwear possible, especially if you have lower back pain, hip pain, or pain in your legs or feet.
To be clear, the BEST choice of footwear is a tennis shoe. If you don’t already know, ask your physical therapist what that means for you. You can also find the Hruska Clinic 2018 shoe list here. However, as many people will be wearing sandals over the summer, keep these things in mind when selecting your shoes over the summer:
1) Choose a shoe that attaches to your foot. Try to avoid flip flops or other shoes that can easily fall off of your foot. This will cause you to move your foot different through space or use your toes to help keep the shoe on. This will cause more compensation patterns when you walk and create more pain.
2) Pick a flat. All heels make your weight move forward to your toes. When this happens, your shoulders will automatically lean back in order to resdistribute your weight and keep you from falling forward. This causes your lower back to excessively arch and your head to move forward which can aggravate ankle, lower back, neck, and shoulder pain as well as headaches. If you do have to choose a heel, pick the smallest one possible.
3) Choose stability. Grab your shoe at the heel and toe and try to bend it in half. A good shoe will bend at the ball of the foot and nowhere else. The more the sole bends, the less stability it has to offer your body. If your ballet flat can easily fold in half, you are essentially walking around in a sock, not a shoe.
4) Have support. Supporting and stabilizing your arch is essential for maintaining good mechanics and avoiding pain. Sure, having arch support is a good idea, it is not the end all be all. The arch rises and falls as a direct result of where the heel is in space. Therefore, picking a shoe with a good heel counter, or at least has the heel covered or encompassed in fabric will give you more arch support than a shoe with an open back. The more firm the heel counter is, the more support you have. If you have an open feel, try to find a shoe with a heel cup. This is a small indentation for the heel to sit in so that it has more support on the sides and cannot rock around as much.
5) Pick something comfortable. Even if your shoes passes all of the above tests, it won’t make a difference if the shoe itself is uncomfortable. Everyone will move their foot different to avoid putting pressure on painful areas of the foot like a blister or sore spot.
Have more questions? Call us at 314-733-5000 or email Lesley@Integrate360pt.com or Nancy@Integrate360PT.com today!
Written by Lesley Callaham, MPT, PRC May 7, 2018.