Summer Feet

How to Keep Your Feet Happy in Sandals​

It’s the time of the year that we change our wardrobe and footwear to match the warmer temperatures, and with that naturally comes changes to your feet. Many of us swap out sneakers or boots for sandals, often in favor of the easy on- easy off kind. So let’s talk about what that means for our foot health and function!

Our feet are a complex system with 26 bones, 33 joints, and 100+ muscles, tendons, and ligaments in each foot. It’s no wonder that they can be sensitive with transitions into different footwear! Especially in the summer, we often like to pop-off our shoes and go barefoot to feel the sand, water, and grass. Our feet need to be ready to adapt to this.

Be kind to your feet and give them some time to adjust. The first few days of wearing sandals, flip-flops, or enjoying some barefoot time should be a gradual transition. This allows all of those bones, joints, and muscles to get used to their new feedback from a different shoe and adapt to the new demands associated with different footwear.

As far as sandal choices, I have a few suggestions. Make sure your shoe is shaped like your real foot; we want your toes to have room to splay without getting squished! It’s also important that your shoe has good attachment to your foot, at least two or more straps. I’m guilty of turning to flip-flops for those brief periods that I need some easy-on footwear, but I don’t like them to be my primary choice for the whole summer.  And I do recommend some variety in footwear options, primarily to match the terrain you will be on – a walk on a sandy beach is going to be much different than a walk in the woods, so please make sure your feet are protected accordingly.

Dr. Jaclyn Plante, PT DPT shares some tips for foot health this summer

Speaking of protection, freeing your feet from socks and shoes also means they are exposed to the sun! Make sure to give your feet appropriate sunblock just like you do for the rest of your body, and reapply accordingly. Keep your nails trimmed and tidy, which will help from excessive build-up of natural material underneath them.

Spending time with your feet exposed to different surfaces and textures can be a nice sensory treat, and we want this to be a pleasant experience. Barefoot time allows our feet to build a better picture of the ground beneath us, as well as increasing tolerance for surfaces that feel different than the inside of our cushioned shoes.

If your feet feel sensitive to standing or walking barefoot, try letting your feet get used to it in sitting. Even a few minutes of feeling grass beneath your feet can go a long way for building stronger, happier, and healthier feet. I don’t expect you to take off barefoot down the sidewalk, but ideally, I want you to be able to walk through the grass with minimal ouch. Be safe and have fun out there!

If you’re curious about foot health and rehab (for summer and beyond!) then let’s chat! Schedule your physical therapy evaluation today, your feet will thank you tomorrow and for years to come.

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