Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Flip Flops, Hard Floors and Plantar Fasciitis

I am reminded every day just how much wear and tear our feet take. I feel it myself when I’m on my feet on a hard floor. I understand so much more from our customers who describe their foot pain and how dramatically it affects their lives. A recent news story featured a reporter and a podiatrist who hung out on a corner in a metropolitan area one work day watching and commenting on foot wear. The doctor remarked just how many young folks he saw wearing flip flops as they scurried along. He finally stopped one young woman who said she wears them to work, but changes into high heels once she gets there. “Aughhh,” he exclaimed. “You are setting yourself up for potential future problems.” “What?” she asked, the idea of being 40 or 50 virtually impossible to imagine.

Plantar fasciitis, often called “flip flop disease” by podiatrists, is the very painful inflammation of the plantar fascia, the ligament-like sheath that runs along the bottom of our foot. This bundle of tissue connects to the Achille’s tendon at the heel. Heel pain is the hallmark of plantar fasciitis, although for many the problem results from too much stress on the ball of the foot. Wearing open back shoes, like flip flops for example, can stir up the problem and certainly aggravate it once your foot is inflamed. Many doctors suggest that overweight and inactivity are also contributors to the onset of this common ailment.

In addition to wearing the right shoes, stretching and flexing the foot is vital both as a prevention and treatment. We discovered the foot flexer, a small, but effective tool to help even the most sedentary keep those feet in motion. The rocking motion stretches the plantar fascia, the Achilles' tendon and calf muscles, the ultimate treatment plan.

Wearing night splints often relieves the pain associated with those first steps out of bed in the morning. The splint keeps the foot in a “dorsi-flexed” position which improves calf muscle flexibility, helping to alleviate morning pain. Stretching the foot and calf before getting out of bed also helps quite a bit. There are many types of splints, although the soft splint and the night boot are among the most popular. The night boot provides a firm wrap around the foot ensuring positioning of the foot during the night. The soft splint holds the foot by pulling back on the toe.

The young woman approached by the podiatrist said at the end of the interview that maybe she would wear her flip flops to work only every other day. If your heels and feet hurt, especially first thing in the morning, try making a few changes. Visit your podiatrist if pain persists.

What have you done to alleviate your foot pain? Post a comment here to share your ideas.


Nanette Randall said...

I have the dreaded PF, too, but thankfully only in my right heel. One thing that is working for me is icing my heel before I play tennis and icing afterwards. Having the right shoe with an orthotic is also important. Oh, and the best remedy - ACUPUNCTURE!!

But, I may have to visit your store to see about those splints and the foot flexer. They all look very interesting!

Thanks for a great and informative article.


HeyGuy said...

I am a Dr. as a fiancee who has learned acupuncture and get free acupuncture whenever I want seems to help at times at others nothing.

I have struggled through it as I played basketball for... close to 20 yrs now. Best best best thing for it is stretching. point blank.

Straighten knee... bring toes as close to the sky as possible. Start at 30 seconds as you wake up. But I do it all the time and everyday I do it as I shower and anytime I can straighten my legs as I sit. Has gone from unbearable to manageable.

Best of luck

Sonica said...

Looks amazing!!!!

Plantar Pain

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Anonymous said...

If we didn't wear shoes at all, and didn't walk on unnaturally hard surfaces all day long (which almost necessitates the wearing of shoes), no one would have these problems. Barefoot cultures don't have foot problems except the very occasional acute injury from a cut or fall.

Just one more way living in an industrial society makes you crazy and ruins your health!

Becca@Carpet Cleaning In Perth said...

I’m really lucky and so glad that after surfing the web for a long time I have found out this information...
Thank you for giving us tips on how and what to wear for our feet.

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