Now that summer is finally here, I love taking off my shoes and being bare foot.
As some of my long-standing clients may remember, once upon a time, I did massage exclusively barefoot. I felt it grounded me and I could move easier than when I wore shoes or sneakers. Fast forward 20 years and now I wear sneakers to do massage. I find that they are much more supportive and I have more energy through out my day.
I don’t want to get into the debate about bare foot versus wearing foot support. Meaning that being barefoot is potentially better for your feet and wearing shoes makes your feet weaker. And we won’t discuss bare foot running. Each topic is a story in themselves! What I do want to talk about is a bit more common: wearing flip flops! OH, how I love them and now there are so many pretty ones out there. I am partial to anything that sparkles. (For better or worse 😉) Have you noticed that as soon as you changed from boots and cool weather shoes to summer shoes, you are getting more leg cramps and muscle pain, even plantar fasciitis symptoms? When you get up in the morning and put your feet on the ground, there is immediate discomfort or pain? This could be your sandals, slides or flip flops. So, what’s the problem? I am not going to tell you not to wear them, just like I won’t tell people not to wear high heels. I do want to educate on how to be proactive about foot care. Flip-flops do not provide sufficient arch and heel support, this makes your feet work much harder to support you, joints have to compensate because your knees, hips and back are not properly aligned. Your toes are gripping, which is not natural in a walking pattern, your bones, ligaments and muscles have to work much harder to stabilize your body weight that is translated through your feet as you stand and walk. This could lead to injuries such as Achilles’ tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shooting pains in your feet and up your legs and pinched back nerves. If those reasons are not enough to rethink your foot wear, additionally, you are prone to sliding, tripping, falling and toe injury. As a bodyworker, all of these things can be felt in my clients’ bodies. When asked what happen? The classic “oh, I changed shoes or was wearing flip flops”. I have even had clients who have sprained ankles from flip flops! Ouch!! So, what to do? I’m not going to say never wear them. I know better! As a woman, I like the shoes I like. I will, however, encourage you to consider what you are going to be doing when you choose your foot wear. If you need to walk long distances, wear shoes that are stable and offer support for your feet. Healthy feet can provide a life time of mobility. That being said, another option is to change your shoes often. If you are going to wear those sexy strappy shoes, bring along another pair so when your feet get tired you can change your shoes throughout your day. Varying your shoes with arch support and heel heights offers your feet sensory challenges along with a break when necessary. Also, stretch and strengthen your feet and lower leg! Yup, this will help immensely! The therapists at the Bodyworks Wellness Center are here for you! We can treat your feet as well as the rest of your muscles, joints and soft tissue issues!