Dr. Ashley Mastrangelo.

Dr. Ashley Mastrangelo.

As the temperatures rise and the weather begins to heat up, most of you will stay cool by slipping on a favorite pair of flip-flops.  Whether you are taking a trip to Narragansett beach or walking around downtown Newport, flip-flops are typically the shoewear of choice for those hot summer months.  Unfortunately, they can cause unwanted foot and ankle pain due to lack of support.  This blog will help to explain the cause of your foot pain and recommendations to help avoid a painful, flip-flop summer.

Why do my feet hurt?  It is a common misconception that because flip-flops are “padded” they will help support and cushion your feet, unfortunately, most offer little to no support.  The lack of support over the course of many months will lead to biomechanical abnormalities.  These abnormalities will eventually lead alterations with your gait causing instability leading to foot cramps, ankle sprains and stress fractures.

One of the most common findings includes heel pain.  This is due to the slim sole, which provides very little, if any, shock absorption.  Continued heel pain can lead to a condition called plantar fasciitis, in which the plantar fascia (the ligament that supports your arch) becomes inflamed.

Lastly, leaving toes exposed to the air all day leaves them susceptible to trauma, infections, and yes, the dreaded, toenail fungus.  These three conditions can often appear similarly as discolored, thickened nails.  If you notice your nails exhibiting any of those signs with toe pain, make an appointment immediately and we will be happy to help you.

How can I avoid pain this summer?  Flip-flops are not meant to be used as every day shoegear, they should be reserved for beach trips and pool days only.  It is also best to trade in those flip-flops for a more rigid pair of orthopedic sandals that can be purchased at any of our offices.  When wearing shoes for vacation, long walks or hikes, be sure that the shoes are lightweight and ventilated.  It is also advisable to change socks at least once per day to allow your feet and shoes to air out.
Most importantly, keep your feet clean!  We all love to feel the sand in between our toes, but be sure to incorporate proper hygiene and regular inspection of your feet into your daily routine.  This includes protecting your feet from the sun by wearing sneakers and sub block on exposed areas.  By following these simple rules, you can enjoy a pain free summer.

Have a great summer!