Plantar Fasciitis is a very common disorder that affects almost 1 in 10 people. It usually occurs in old age and is followed by various foot deformities as well. While we understand the do’s and dont’s for plantar fasciitis, one of the most common mistakes made is wearing non-supportive shoes.
Massage, medicine, and therapy are only good temporarily but what if you don’t wear the appropriate footwear to support your feet? Here is where most of us need to understand that not any footwear and especially slippers work for plantar fasciitis. In fact, slippers are not recommended for plantar fasciitis at all as they do not support the feet from any direction.
Here is why we answer all your footwear concerns related to plantar fasciitis and help you with understanding what’s best if you are suffering from pain due to plantar fasciitis.
- 1 What is Plantar Fasciitis & Its Causes?
- 2 How Are Flip Flops Bad For Plantar Fasciitis?
- 3 What Is The Alternative To Slippers?
What is Plantar Fasciitis & Its Causes?
Let us understand the term before we get to the concept and the causes of Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar basically means the sole area of the foot. Now, the plantar fascia is the ligament that attaches the entire arch of the foot to the heel section. It forms the bowstring or arched section of the feet. This ligament is responsible for taking the pressure off your feet and for shock absorbance.
Inflammation of this ligament leads to a condition called Plantar Fasciitis. This causes excessive heel pain if you step your feet on the floor. But what causes the inflammation that leads to plantar fasciitis? We tell you.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Excessive Exercise or Activity:
There are various activities and exercises like certain types of stretching, aerobics, ballet dancing or even running for long distances and running with long strides that can cause plantar fasciitis or stress in the plantar fascia ligament.
The way you stand, the amount of weight you put on your feet while standing, the arch on your feet, your walking pattern, and the shape and structure of your feet can have a direct impact on the plantar fascia which causes pain and swelling.
Shoes you wear:
In case you are a victim of foot deformities like flat feet, arthritis, and other such conditions, you must not avoid wearing supportive shoes. If your feet do not get the required amount of support from the shoes, then there are high chances of developing Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis and heel pain is a common disorder between the age of 40-60 years old. Joints and ligaments start growing weak after age, and therefore can’t withstand enough pressure.
Excessive weight will have a direct impact on your feet as your feet bear the entire pressure of the body. Some extra kilos will certainly affect and pressurize the plantar fascia.
Long hours of standing on your feet because your job demands you to maybe a sign that you can develop plantar fasciitis. Especially, if you are standing on flat floors and hard surfaces, the chances of developing plantar fasciitis increase ten folds.
How Are Flip Flops Bad For Plantar Fasciitis?
If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, then flip flops are certainly not the footwear meant for you as they lack the amount of support that any shoe is ideally supposed to give to your feet. We give you several reasons as to why flip flops are bad for plantar fasciitis.
Closed shoes that reach right up to the ankle level are good to prevent pronation. Flip flops are completely open and provide no support from any direction. If you have an ankle sprain or have injured your ankle due to some reason, flip flops may contribute severely to the condition. Not just that, since your feet lack the support on the heel and ankle section, it is prone to bend and pronate if you don’t watch your step.
No Arch Support
If you have seen the shape of flip flops, they are absolutely flat. And in the case of plantar fasciitis, that is what you need to avoid. To support the plantar fascia that forms the arch of the feet, the shoes have to be slightly cushioned and bent like the arch of your feet. That is when the shoes adjust as per your feet’s shape and supports the vulnerable areas.
If the shoes are shaped flat, with zero arch and no cushioning to hold the arch of the feet in place, the weight and pressure of the feet would not be balanced which will cause pain at the sole area of the feet.
Lack Of Cushioning
To support the arch, it is advisable to get shoes that have proper cushioning. Flip flops are made of rubber that is not cushioned and hence provides no support to your feet. Flip flops increase the chances of shocks and pressure on your feet with any impactful activity and do not even provide adequate shock absorbance due to lack of cushioning and support.
Flip flops and flats usually have a very open design, which makes your feet more susceptible to getting injured and the sole purpose of shoes is lost. One of the main reasons we wear shoes is to protect our feet, and flip flops have a very airy and casual design that is nowhere close to offering protection to our feet except for providing a base to the sole.
Bad For Knees and Hips
Flip flops don’t maintain your normal walking posture as they keep slipping off the feet and you need to change the style of walking to keep them in place. This changes your stability, discords your body balance, and eventually affects the connected joints like the knees and hips.
Since they have no straps or cushions for support, the feet are not held in the proper place and neither supported well which causes dragging of the feet. This brings the entire heel in contact with the ground, increasing the pressure on the heel and triggering a response in the connected joints like the knees and the hips.
What Is The Alternative To Slippers?
If wearing slippers causes you to pain due to plantar fasciitis, then the best advice is to avoid them. However, there are alternatives to wearing slippers that do not make you compromise on style and your feet health either. Here are some alternatives you can consider:
Well, not just any shoes, but shoes that are specially customized for Plantar Fasciitis. Shoes that have a closed, well-fitted design are extremely supportive for your feet during plantar fasciitis. You can find the best shoes recommended by doctors and experts for plantar fasciitis here.
Here are some key points to look for while buying shoes for plantar fasciitis:
- Shoes meant for plantar fasciitis should have a great arch and heel support because that is where the ligament in your feet lies.
- Cushioning may not be as important but if you need less impact on your feet and your activities are highly impactful, then cushioning is a feature to be added to.
- The midsole also helps in providing good shock absorbance and is useful to reduce the pressure on the arch section. Shoes with thick midsoles are great for plantar fasciitis.
- The heel section has to have cushioned walls and needs to be firm which reduces abnormal stretching of the plantar fascia and prevents inflammation.
Fitted Flip Flops
If you have plantar fasciitis and you are planning to wear flip flops that are cheap and flimsy, think again. It would only stretch the plantar fascia, and in turn, cause more pain than ever. Therefore, look for fitted flip flops that hold your feet in place and at the same time provide good support. You can look for some amazing and extremely supportive pair of flip flops that come with the APMA seal of approval for plantar fasciitis here.
As per what the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) recommends, flips flops need to have some arch support that can contour to the shape of your feet as well as maintain the arched position of the sole of the feet. The arch should prevent your feet from flattening and maintain the shape.
Flip flops that offer a contoured footbed to additionally offering some arch support are a bonus because they evenly distribute the weight of your feet. The one thing that you can also look for in flip flops is deep heel cups that provide good stability and maintain your gait while walking. They should have relatively sturdy rubber soles and not be flimsy like flip flops. The upper material should be soft and it should have straps that are soft and adjustable.
One of the biggest benefits of having a massager is that it targets the trigger points that our fingers and medicines can’t. Plantar Fasciitis often causes inflammation of the plantar fascia called myofascial pain. The continuous uniform and rolling motion of massagers tend to target these trigger points thereby improving the blood circulation around the fascia ligament.
These massagers also come with multiple modes that can be adjusted based on the intensity of pain. Check here to choose from a powerful range of effective pain relief massagers that are good for plantar fasciitis and foot deformities.
The bottom line
If you are living with plantar fasciitis, then slippers are not your best companion for casual getaways or even as style statements. Slippers do not provide the required amount of support that your feet and the arch needs to not pressurize the heel due to the entire weight of the body.
Not just that, but we have listed several other reasons like pronation, lack of cushioning and ankle support, etc. that make slippers a strict no-no for plantar fasciitis. Although, if you are confused about what to wear and do not want to compromise on your comfort levels either, then you can always consider some alternatives to slippers that we have mentioned that would also help you reduce the pressure on your feet and prove to be supportive if you are a chronic patient of plantar fasciitis.
Read our article above and tell us, how you relate to the causes and would consider the alternatives to slippers through the comments section below.
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.