The Danger Of SandalsJun 22, 2021
Now that the nice weather is back in full swing (for the time being) I will discuss a short bit on the negative impact sandals can have on your feet.
While it is great to let the fresh air at your feet as in Ireland they are wrapped up in socks and shoes for ¾ of the year it is most definitely great to give your feet a break.
I will discuss certain designs of sandals that you can look out for and try to avoid injuring your foot.
Flexible, Thin Soles
Many sandals have a very thin sole and offer little to no shock absorbency.
As you get older the fatty pad under your foot reduces. Shoes can accommodate this reduction in fat pad by having a good sole on them. This means the shoe is taking all the shock absorbency rather than the bones of your foot at the heel or the ball of your foot.
If you find your feet are very tired and sore after wearing your sandals, the sole may be too thin for what you need.
Thin soles are oftentimes too flexible for the foot and provide no support for the foot. Shoes should only bend at the big to joint and nowhere else.
Many sandals are are very flat, and can lead to heel or arch pain in the foot.
Tight calf muscles are very common in all age groups and can lead to many injuries of the foot. In particular it can lead to pain in the back of your heel which is known as your Achilles Tendon, or on the sole of your heel which is the plantar fascia.
The flatter the shoe the more pressure is put through your Achilles Tendon and plantar fascia as it is stretched more. Therefore it is better to have a sandal that has a heel height of 2 fingers width, compared to 1 finger width at the front/ball of the foot. This will reduce pressure at the heel.
As the skin on the tops of your feet are usually covered up with shoes the skin can be very sensitive when exposed to sunlight.
It is important to always apply sun cream to these areas to reduce the risk of burns and blistering.
Stubbing Toe Nails
As sandals are opened toed this can leave them very vulnerable to get stubbed on legs on tables, corner of a press etc.
While stubbing your toe is very sore it can be worsened if the nail breaks off or starts to lift (onycholysis).
If the nail starts to lift this can cause friction between the nail and the nail bed resulting in pain and the nail may need to be cut back (depending on its presentation).
If you do stub your toe and the nail has been damaged it is important to go to a podiatrist to have it assessed. Do not cut the nail back yourself as you may make the nail worse and more difficult to manage.
To prevent any infection in the area you could start to soak your foot in salty water to prevent infection setting in until you see your GP or Podiatrist.
Many sandals can be made from cheap materials such as rubber and plastic.
While you may think you are doing great letting the air at your feet, these types of materials can actually cause your feet to sweat more. This in turn with hot weather will further increase the amount you sweat.
Sweaty feet combined with non-breathable materialed shoes will result in a moisture build up on your feet and in the shoe. Moisture on your feet will help the fungi naturally present on your skin progress to athletes foot - an itchy fungal infection of the skin.
Wearing sandals made of breathable material such as leather will help prevent this.
Ankle Straps Vs Slip Ons
Slip on shoes may be more stylish but provide little ankle support when walking.
It is important to have a sandal with a strap around the ankle to prevent the shoes from slipping off when walking. The dangers of slip on shoes is to sprain your ankle after your foot has falling out of the shoe.
When you have sprained your ankle once you are likely to re-sprain your ankle. Over time this can result in ankle instability. If you have sprained your ankle it is important to build back up the strength in your ankle by practising stability exercises.
Long term use of slip on shoes can result in your toes gradually curling over time. This is because your toes will naturally curl to try hold onto a slip on shoe. This may result in corns and callus on the tops of your toes.
I hope some of these tips will help you pick a suitable sandal for the hot weather without letting your feet suffer.