Whether it’s flip-flops, wedges or sandals you’ll be wearing this summer, protect your feet and body with these expert tips.

Description: Save Your Soles This Summer

If you’ve been hiding your feet in boots and trainers for most of winter, you might be relishing the thought of reuniting them with summer wedges, flip-flops and sandals. But did you know you could be putting your feet, muscles and bones at risk just to conform to the latest fashions? ‘Our feet aren’t supposed to hurt,’ says Dave Wain, podiatrist for Carnation Footcare. ‘It’s neglect, lack of awareness of appropriate care much linked to your health, so follow our summer footwear guide to minimize pain and maximize your style.

High heels

Description: High heels

Health effects: Numbness or pain in your feet is never a good sign, but by putting pressure on the digital nerves in the ball of your foot, skyscraper heels can cause painful inflammation, called metatarsalgia. Wearing high heels, especially those with pointed toes, can also result in bunions. They force your foot, and your weight, to slide forward, which rubs and puts constant pressure on your toe joint. And heels cause your calf muscles to shorten and lose elasticity, making it painful to walk barefoot.

Solution: Wear high heels in moderation – once or twice a week to minimize damage to your feet – and try wearing a variety of heel heights to keep your muscles flexible. A thicker heel, not a stiletto, will spread the pressure across your foot and help prevent twisted ankles.


Description: Wedges

Healthy effects: Twisted ankles are common if you wear wedges, because the chunky heel affects your balance. High wedges can result in corns and callouses on the ball of your foot, and chronic stress in that area has been known to result in hairline fractures in the toes.

Solution: Wedges aren’t all bad. A pair with a heel that’s roughly 1.5 inches high can be one of the better summer footwear choices. The wedge spreads pressure more evenly across your foot and heel, and ankle straps will give extra support.

Ballet pumps

Description: Ballet pumps

Health effects: Flat shoes strain the backs of your legs and ankles, because they overstretch your calf muscle. They also offer very little to no support for the arch of your foot, and the thin soles offer no cushion, which will pull uncomfortably on your Achilles’ tendon. These ill-fitting shoes slip off your feet easily, causing clawed toes as you use your toes to ‘grab’ the ground to keep them on while you walk. Some people even resort to buying ballet pumps in smaller sizes just so they stay on! Long-term effects include a flattened, which can cause problems with your ankles, lower back and hips – all of which affect your overall posture.

Solution: Slip a Scholl Party Feet Invisible Gel Cushion into your shoe to increase cushioning.

Fashion trainers

Description: Lack of support between your heel and toes can cause a condition called plantar fasciitis, where the connective tissue running under your foot become inflamed.

Health effects: While these plimsolls are the height of casual fashion, they have no support for your heels or arches. Lack of support between your heel and toes can cause a condition called plantar fasciitis, where the connective tissue running under your foot become inflamed. The upper fabric, usually canvas, does not encase the foot securely, nor allow your feet to breathe, creating the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. These shoes should never be worn for sport or at the gym.

Solution: If you can, change the insole for one with arch support. Also, Carnation Footcare Silversock socks eliminate 99.9 per cent of bacteria, thanks to the pure silver fibres in the material. The thermodynamic material also keeps and helps to prevent blisters.


Description: Flip-flops

Health effects: Cracked heels are a big problem when wearing these summer must-haves. Fat in the heel is spread sideways, putting pressure on the skin which causes cracking. Lack of support means painful shin splints are a risk, caused by your foot rolling inwards (overpronation). For the same reason, flip-flop wearers also have a shorter stride length, which can cause pain in the hips. Flip-flops offer no protection for toes or your upper foot, so anyone with diabetes or circulatory problems needs to take extra care of their feet when earing flip-flops, as cuts and grazes can lead to infection.

Solutions: Wear flip-flops for short periods of time only. Use Scholl Cracked Heel Repair Cream K+. This cream promises visible results in just three to seven days, and will help to reduce discomfort and prevent infection. Opt for flip-flops with memory foam soles and built-in arch support.

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