Yesterday I blogged about how I was conducting an informal study on the shoes. The purpose of the study was to determine if one particular shoe contributed more than another to my pain (and plantar fasciitis). I actually showed you the shoes I had been wearing and asked you what you thought was hurting my feet.
With over 85 people voting, the poll results revealed that it was a tie between the Tory Burch and the Sanuk flip-flops. I was sure people were going to select the Clark wedge.
The correct answer is…….
Who would have thought these yoga mat flip-flops would cause me so much pain? I will admit that when I wore them on Sunday to do some errands around town that my right foot started to hurt pretty bad and my husband and I had to make a stop at Soft-Shoe to look at shoe options. I managed to pick up a pair of these to wear the rest of the day (and really haven’t taken then off since).
I know you are thinking those are flip-flops (again) but let me tell you that the hard plastic (or foam) Crocs are very comfortable. My pain diminished quickly after putting these puppies on. I even ended up wearing these out of the store.
I have never been a huge fan of Crocs. I remember teasing my nieces (Natalie) the most about wearing Crocs. She wore them everyday no matter what the weather conditions were like. She had several colors (the pink ones with the white fur stick come to mind). She even had those crazy Jibbitz.things that you could adorn your Crocs with to jazz them up. I would not let her wear them if we went out in public. I was very anti Crocs. Oh, how times have changed.
Now, I have a collection of Crocs that I wear out in public. I have drawn the line with bedazzlingly my Crocs with any Jibbitz
So here are my unscientific findings from my informal shoe study:
1. It is important to watch the age/condition of your shoes. Just like with running you need to retire your shoes when the mileage gets high. Case in point my Dansko’s. These shoes are a few years old. I never have really stopped to think how many miles I have on these shoes put I am sure that it exceeds 300. In the winter, I tend to wear these everyday. They are a very sturdy shoe and hold up well in snow, sleet, rain, etc. I have even replaced the insoles once. The issue is that shoes tend to break down over time. Everything ages. No shoe is meant to last forever. If you feet start aching it might be a sign that you need a new pair of shoes.You can try new insoles but the bottom line is the shoe itself is just breaking down. It is hard to part with these because they are still in good shape (appearance wise) but I know after wearing them my feet do hurt. Time to say goodbye. I might replace them with a pair of KURU‘s.
2. Change up the shoes you wear everyday. We all have that “go-to” pair of shoes that we wear everyday. Well every other day show some love to another pair of shoes. Studies show that shoes support you in different fashions and it is good to change things up. The Foot &Ankle Center of Washington says that
“heel and arch pain is usually the result of faulty bio mechanics (walking gait abnormalities) that place too much stress on the heel bone and the soft tissues that attach to it. This increased stress causes local inflammation and pain.The most common cause of this increased stress is a condition known as “over-pronation”, which means that your feet roll inward too much when you walk. As they roll inward the arch of the foot flattens and the arch lengthens. When the arch lengthens there is increased tension on the plantar fascia.”
So as part of my study, I wore a flat one day and a wedge another day. I was surprised that after a day in the Clark wedges that my foot was not screaming bloody murder. What I attributed this to was that because I was in a wedge it changed how I was walking. With this particular wedge, any heel striking was eliminated completely. My gait seemed to improve and force me into a forefront striker hence eliminating my heel pain.
3. Eliminate flip-flops that are flat. Gulp! When I am in flip-flops, I become lazy with my gait. I tend to drag my feet and even heel strike. The last thing that you want to do is heel strike when your heel is already hurting. So goodbye Sanuk!
4. Wedges are the perfect alternative to heels. Wearing high heels does change your gait and the bio mechanics of your feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back. If faced with a choice choose a wedge style over a stiletto style heel. A wedge provides more support and doesn’t cause the lateral movement that a stiletto does. Wedges provide mid-foot and rear-foot control which helps to decrease mechanical strain and chance of injury. I found this x-ray of your foot in a wedge and it is interesting to see how your foot actually looks in a wedge.
Some would argue that all heels are bad because its effects on the Achilles tendon, calf muscles, and back. I counter that by saying wearing a wedge (not a 5 inch stripper shoe) is good in moderation. Again, I am not a doctor but when you wear heels doesn’t it shorten the Achilles tendon, Soleus, and Gastrocnemius muscles? So if I flip better a flat and a wedge aren’t I am some way stretching those areas? For me, when I flipped between a flat and a wedge, I found that when I wore the wedge my heel had ZERO pain after wearing all day. I do have a few lower pair of wedges that serve as a great alternative to the 3.5 inch heel.
5. Crocs rock! I am sorry that I ever made fun of my 6-year-old niece. I actually googled “why crocs are good for your feet?” According to WebMD
Crocs are certified by the U.S. Ergonomics Council and the American Podiatric Medical Association. Hanson says that what Crocs lack in aesthetic value, they make up in therapeutic benefits. The company created what it calls an Rx line of models specifically with healthy feet in mind: Croc Relief, Croc Cloud, and Croc Silver Cloud.
“These shoes were designed specifically to eliminate plantar pain and achy feet,” says Hanson. “They also help people with injured feet,, and . You’ve got a lot of inner support, heel cups and massaging heel nubs, and arch support. They’re ideal for people with foot problems.”
Now to throw you for a loop, when I am running I have no pain. That can either be attributed to my awesome NewBalance 890’s or just that I need to translate my gait from running to walking. I’ll save that research for another day and post.
If you are having PF pain, I challenge you to conduct your own informal study. For 7 days, wear different shoes each day. Make sure you change-up your type of shoes as well – one day wearing a flat, one day wear your running shoes, etc. Oh, buy a pair of Crocs, too!