Wearing the wrong sandals could be a dangerous decision for certain foot types

One of the many changes indicative of warmer weather is a shift in footwear selection, and more than any other type of shoes, the top of that list is usually reserved exclusively for sandals, flip flops and other open-toed footwear.

Despite their comfort, especially with warmer temperatures, incorrect or prolonged use of sandals and other unsupportive footwear can lead to painful problems with foot stability and may exacerbate a tendency called overpronation.

Pronation is a normal part of running and walking that helps the foot absorb shock and adapt to uneven surfaces. If the foot rolls too far inward, however, it’s called overpronating, which can cause problems throughout the rest of the body since the foot isn’t properly absorbing shock and passes it on to other regions.

Nearly 80% of the population overpronates to some degree, and people with flat feet, low arches or overly flexible arches are more likely to do so. Overpronation can degrade performance and lead to a host of problems like shin splints, tendinitis, stress fractures and knee pain.

Most sandals aren’t designed for extensive walking since they lack sufficient arch support, heel cushioning and shock absorption. Wearing the wrong sandals for extended periods of time can therefore make overpronation worse by providing less support and increasing pain in the foot and elsewhere.

But by being smart about footwear selection, you can increase foot stability and control overpronation. Keep these pointers in mind when making decisions about your feet and how to protect them:

  • For runners that overpronate, make sure your shoes are suited to your tendencies and get fitted at a running store if you are uncertain
  • Any time you’re walking for long distances, wear appropriate footwear and don’t use sandals unless they are made for walking
  • These types of sandals should be designed to control for pronation with an adequate support system and straps that can be adjusted to your foot
  • Flimsy, old or worn-out sandals should be avoided entirely if possible
  • Try spending a lot of time walking barefoot, which will help coordinate a muscular response in the foot that will help better control pronation
  • Stand on one leg and do squats, heel raises, balance and reach exercises

Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates in Shelby and Kings Mountain, NC wants you to enjoy the warm weather without experiencing any foot pain in the process. Be smart about your footwear and avoid problems before they begin. For more information on sandals and footwear selection or to schedule an appointment, call 704-471-0001.