A question that people frequently ask us at the clinic is whether there is a seasonal pattern in injuries. The answer is yes. With the beginning and ending of different sporting seasons, the increased rehearsals for the end of year dance concerts, the increase in stressful periods for office workers.
WHAT DO WE EXPECT DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON?
Well, the summer holidays often coincide with an increase in foot related injuries. It’s just that time of year that people tend to find themselves walking in flip flops (and other unsupportive footwear) for longer periods then they usually would. When you consider that your feet bear the entire weight of your body and then think about the distances you walk around sightseeing as a tourist, you would be likely to reconsider your footwear.
THE PERILS OF FLIP-FLOPS….
The problem with flip-flops is they don’t offer your foot any support or protection. They also force you to grip your toes, so you’re not walking in the normal heel-to-toe manner. This is confounded by different factors including weight gain, age and poor biomechanics, existing injury, as well as external factors such as walking surface.
Excessive ‘rolling in’ or pronation causes the arches of the foot to collapse resulting in unnatural elongation of the foot. This can lead to overuse or dysfunction in the muscles that support the arch such as tibialis posterior, and the connective strut of the arch, the plantar fascia. Additionally over time a ‘heel spur’ may develop (a bony growth which forms on the calcaneus), in many individuals this may be pre-existing, but can cause or contribute to the foot pain. The end result: injury to your feet, and potentially along the kinetic chain in the knees, hips and low back.
NOW WE’RE NOT ASKING YOU TO WEAR SNEAKERS WITH YOUR SUMMER DRESS….
Although the extent to which painful feet can inhibit your daily activities may make you think twice.
People who experience foot pain should seek treatment immediately and never assume that time alone will make the pain go away. Rest, ice and anti-inflammatories (topical / oral) are the best initial management of these issues. However, alone will not correct the whole issue. Physiotherapy will manage the condition holistically with correction of biomechanics, exercise prescription, and safe progression to previous activity.