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Podiatrists need to stress importance of supportive summer shoes

Friday 2nd June 2017
Podiatrists may see an increase in demand for their expertise over the summer months due to more people wearing unsupportive shoes. Image: mamezito via iStock
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Podiatrists are likely to see a marked increase in demand for their services now that the weather is getting warmer, as many summer shoes do not adequately support the feet and can cause a wide range of problems.
 
Shoes including flip-flops and strappy sandals often provide no ankle support at all, meaning ankle pain is more likely when these are being worn. These styles of shoes also tend to be completely flat with not even a slight heel, which is another factor that can place extra strain on the ankle.
 
What's more, when it's warm, people's feet naturally swell, so if straps on their sandals or 'jelly shoes' are too tight, they are more likely to cause painful blisters that could become infected. Bunions are also a risk with these kinds of shoes, often requiring care from a trained podiatrist.
 
Speaking to Business Insider, podiatric surgeon Dr Jacqueline Sutera explained that plantar fasciitis is another potential risk associated with the long-term wear of unsupportive summer shows.
 
She explained that this is when there is "inflammation at the bottom of the foot".
 
"There's a ligament called your plantar fascia and that runs along your whole entire arch," the expert added.
 
"If you have bunions and hammertoes, flip-flops can make them a lot worse ... and even different types of tendonitis and ankle sprain, because you're not really stable inside that shoe."
 
Meanwhile, figures from the NHS show that flip-flops result in injuries for more than 200,000 people in the UK every year, costing the health service over £40 million to treat.
 
As a result, podiatrists need to make sure they are educating people of the potential long-term health risks of wearing unsuitable summer shoes, as well as advising on the best types of sandals to wear in order to prevent these.
 
For example, Dr Sutera recommends that people always look for shoes with adequate arch support and thick straps to provide a little extra support to their feet when the weather is warm.
 
Written by Angela Newbury
 
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