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Summer footwear: tips for healthy feet

healthy_toes

By Kathleen Zinck, Physiotherapist

This summer anything goes for footwear, from the kitten heel pump, to opened toe boots, slides, sparkly court shoes, or bling flip flops. As a health care provider we want to remind you of a few tips on choosing the footwear that is good for you and your feet!

There are 26 bones in the feet, a very complex ligament structure, and muscles that serve to bear the weight of the body. There is a variety of footwear requirements when we factor in genetics, weight, health conditions, and occupations.

SUPPORT

  • Depending on your foot type remember that support is a priority if you are on your feet a lot
  • Look for a supportive arch as opposed to a flat flip flop if you plan to walk a lot
  • Look at the density of the sole - more cushioning will make your feet feel better at the end of the day.  Twist the shoe from front to back to see if the mid-foot is stable
  • If footwear is too big your toes and calf muscles have to work harder, so get advise from the service provider when you are purchasing new footwear

SANDALS

  • Look at the width of your foot in the shoe and make sure that the inside and outside of the front of your foot do not fall over the sole, and the length cups your heel nicely
  • If you have orthotics look for sandals with a removable insole so you can put your orthotics in them
  • Look for adjustable straps so if your feet swell with the heat you can loosen them

Get your feet ready for the change in seasonal footwear by doing these exercises:

 Standing with hands on the wall in front of you, bend your left knee as far as you can until you feel a pull on your left Achilles tendon. Try to bear some of your body weight on your right leg so the stretch is more passive on the left. When doing this stretch try to keep your kneecap over your toes and your arch pulled up. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Try to do this stretch throughout the day, every couple of hours, even if it is just one stretch.

Standing with hands on the wall in front of you, bend your left knee as far as you can until you feel a pull on your left Achilles tendon. Try to bear some of your body weight on your right leg so the stretch is more passive on the left. When doing this stretch try to keep your kneecap over your toes and your arch pulled up. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Try to do this stretch throughout the day, every couple of hours, even if it is just one stretch.

 Standing with hands on the wall in front of you, place your right leg out behind you with your knee straight. Lean your hips forward until you feel a stretch on the upper part of the calf muscle. Try and take some of the weight on your left leg to make the stretch gentler.  Keep your knee pointing forward above your toes, and keep your arch up. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Repeat throughout the day.

Standing with hands on the wall in front of you, place your right leg out behind you with your knee straight. Lean your hips forward until you feel a stretch on the upper part of the calf muscle. Try and take some of the weight on your left leg to make the stretch gentler.  Keep your knee pointing forward above your toes, and keep your arch up. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Repeat throughout the day.

 Rise on balls of feet then lower down. Helps reduce swelling. Repeat 5-10 times a few times per day. 

Rise on balls of feet then lower down. Helps reduce swelling. Repeat 5-10 times a few times per day. 

 Raise heels off the floor. Keep toes on the floor. Repeat 5-10 times a few times per day.

Raise heels off the floor. Keep toes on the floor. Repeat 5-10 times a few times per day.

 With leg relaxed, gently turn ankle/foot in and out. Move through full range of motion. Avoid pain. Repeat several times a few times a day. 

With leg relaxed, gently turn ankle/foot in and out. Move through full range of motion. Avoid pain. Repeat several times a few times a day. 

 Place your foot on a towel on the floor. Slowly curl your toes in, pulling the towel towards you. This is to try and strengthen the small muscles in your arch. Repeat for 3 towel lengths. If too easy, put a weight on the far end of the towel.

Place your foot on a towel on the floor. Slowly curl your toes in, pulling the towel towards you. This is to try and strengthen the small muscles in your arch. Repeat for 3 towel lengths. If too easy, put a weight on the far end of the towel.

Lynn Redmond