Five Tips to Protect Your Feet During Summer

June 14, 2016 Brigham and Women's Hospital

When walking outside in the summer, opt for shoes that offer more support and protection.

When walking outside in the summer, opt for shoes that offer more support and protection.

As summer approaches, the season for flip-flops and sandals also arrives. Although convenient and an easy option for both adults and children to wear, James Ioli, DPM,  Chief of Podiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, advises caution when making the switch to sandals from closed-toe shoes. Here he offers some helpful tips to protect your feet during these warmer months.

  • Invest in your summer footwear.

“You get what you pay for,” says Dr. Ioli. “Instead of a cheaper pair of flip-flops, opt for sandals or flip- flops that offer more support.”  Look for a deep heel cup, arch support, and a metatarsal pad (under the balls of the feet), which helps protect and support the foot when walking.

  • Protect your feet.

With open-toed sandals, it is easy for something to get lodged between your foot and the sole of the sandal, resulting in some painful issues. “If you happen to step down on a pebble the wrong way and it gets embedded in your foot, that can be problematic,” says Ioli. Instead of open flip-flops, opt for sandals with more structure that protect your feet.

  • Wear water shoes instead.

After many years of removing painful foreign bodies from the soles of feet, Dr. Ioli says it’s wise to wear beach shoes instead of sandals when going into areas with open water, like beaches, lakes, and ponds. “These shoes offer some protection from hidden hazards and sharp objects, such as bottle caps, glass, coral, and even boardwalk splinters all of which could be painful and dangerous if lodged in the foot.”

  • Scope out the area.

Ioli advises people to be cautious and check out the area for potential hazards. “You need to be aware of your surroundings. Check specifically for broken glass, bottles, or other sharp objects that you can step on that may cause injuries.”

  • Foot problems don’t always occur in the summer.

After a summer wearing flip flops and sandals, Ioli says he sees a spike in patients who experience foot problems in the fall. “We tend to see issues such as hammertoes, bunions, and interdigital neuromas (pinched nerves) in September or October, when people start wearing closed shoes.”

How much do you know about  foot health? Take a quiz to test your knowledge.

– Johanna Y.

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