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Save Your Feet from the Heat
By Vincent Muscarella, DPM, foot and ankle surgeon at Premier
The warm weather is finally here and with it comes the tendency to shed our jeans and long sleeve shirts, for lighter outerwear. These include short sleeves, short pants, tank tops and bathing suits.
The same occurs with our footwear. We stop wearing our heavy boots, thick fur lined soled shoes and transition to athletic shoes, sandals, or no footwear at all. As our activity levels increase, so does the potential for injuries with our warm weather footwear.
Sneakers can bring out the weekend athletes in all of us. But many people fail to fully re-evaluate their athletic shoes from the previous season for wear patterns, loss of support, and normal wear and tear. If an exercise program, such as jogging, is performed without proper warming up and supportive shoes, conditions such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, tendinitis, hip/ knee/ ankle/ low back pain, muscle cramping and spasms, and blistering to the skin are potential conditions that could stop and make the expected warm weather activities uncomfortable.
Next shoe type that is common in warm weather are sandals. Sandals come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Although they are comfortable and cooling to the feet, they do not protect the feet from outside sources of injury such as foreign objects, insect bites, poison ivy, and allergic reactions. Also, many people forget to apply sunscreen to the top of the foot when wearing sandals thus causing, severe sunburn. On a more positive note, the better sandals will have built-in arch supports in their structure which help in preventing arch strain, calf pain, and low back pain. The worst sandal of all, is the most common one seen, the” flip-flop”. This cheap type of sandal affords absolutely no shock absorption, arch support, or protection. It is often the source of an acute injury or problem.
But by far the most common shoe type worn in the hot weather is no shoe at all. Although having a feeling of freedom from any covering on your feet may feel good, here feet are vulnerable to any type of injury especially foreign bodies, splinters, insect bites, cuts, abrasions, and laxity in the foot and ankle which may cause sprains and strains. Walking or running barefoot is most critical in the patient who has an underlying disease such as diabetes and/or poor circulation in the legs.
Whatever, or wherever your activity, pay attention to your feet! Be sure to give them the support they need this summer!
Dr. Muscarella sees patients at our East Norriton office. To schedule an appointment, please call the office at 610-630-4414.