Three simple steps to make sure your summer shoes take you everywhere … except to the ER.
One of the perks of summer is giving your tootsies the freedom to catch some air. In Texas, it’s an absolute must. But summer shoes aren’t always appropriate for summer activities such as riding scooters, bicycles and motorcycles, doing chores like lawn mowing and hedge trimming or hiking on rocks or through areas where stinging insects and snakebites are of concern.
While it’s tempting to wear those flimsy-but-oh-so-comfortable sandals or flip-flops out of the house, it often leads to foot injuries that can land you in the emergency room. Your feet are the foundation for everything you do, so it’s important to protect them.
Shoes are your first line of defense against foot injuries.
- Always wear the correct shoes for the activity you’re doing
- Closed-toed shoes are best for work or play
- Keep your work or play shoes handy — near the back door or in the garage
- Replace your shoes when they wear out
Crocs clogs have been in the news in recent years for injuring a number of children on escalators and causing some to lose toes. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics concluded:
Escalator-related foot injuries involving rubber clogs can result in severe crushing of the foot and even traumatic amputation. The broad toe-box design may give a false perception of the distance between the foot and the side of the escalator, whereas the ‘softness’ of these rubber clogs makes them vulnerable to crush by moving escalator steps. Injuries sustained can be significant and permanent. The potential dangers of escalators and rubber clogs must not be underestimated.
How to hang ten safely.
Q: What are some common foot injuries you see in the ER?
A: Walking barefoot can leave your feet vulnerable to infections and injury. If you are walking barefoot in a common area, such as a swimming pool or locker room, you may be exposing your feet to athlete’s foot, plantar warts or bacterial infections.
Planning a trip to the beach? Leaving your feet unprotected by going barefoot or wearing flip-flops may lead to puncture wounds by glass or other objects hidden in the sand or water. A great alternative is to wear water shoes with a sturdy protective sole. Also, don’t forget your feet when applying sunscreen; they are vulnerable to sunburn just like the rest of your skin.
Work boots or tennis shoes should always be worn when mowing the lawn. Lawn mower injuries are a common cause of ER trips. Mowing the lawn with bare feet or flip-flops leaves your unprotected feet vulnerable to injury.
Q: What are some shoe shopping tips for adults and kids?
A: Proper shoe shopping tips can be applied for people of all ages. When looking for shoes, you can perform 3 simple steps to make sure you are making a healthy purchase.
- First, make sure when you press on both sides of the heel, it does not collapse
- Second, make sure the toe box is flexible enough to bend when the toes bend
- Finally, make sure your shoe has a rigid arch and does not twist in the middle; your shoes should never fold in half
Older people should be extra careful to stay in a supportive shoe, instead of sandals or flip-flops, especially if they are prone to balance issues or falls. Wearing flip-flops or sandals can increase instability and cause tripping.
Babies and toddlers that are learning to walk will benefit from a flexible shoe with a soft but durable sole that still allows for protection when walking outdoors. Barefoot is best when these young children are indoors, to encourage healthy bone and muscle development. Older children will benefit from sturdy, supportive shoes which adhere to the shoe shopping principles described above.
Q: What’s wrong with wearing flip-flops?
A: Flip-flops, Crocs, and other flat sandals can cause stress and strain on the arch of the foot. These types of summer shoes lack arch support, and can lead to pain in the heel, arch or ball of the foot. You do not have to completely avoid flip-flops, but do not make them your main footwear choice. Wear a supportive tennis shoe whenever possible, or choose a sandal with a sturdy arch. Never go barefoot, especially if you are prone to developing inflammation of your heel, known as plantar fasciitis.
If you do choose to wear flip-flops, make sure to inspect them for wear and tear. Pick a flip-flop with at least a little bit of an arch, preferably made of a sturdy material such as leather. Also, your shoes should bend at the toes, but should never bend completely in half.
Watch Dr. Shannon Cairns demonstrate how to choose the right shoes.
We hope your feet will always carry you wherever you need to go, but if your shoes rub you the wrong way, one of our many Medical City ER locations has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.
Find a fast Medical City ER near you.