After a long day of being on your feet, putting on your favorite warm, cozy slippers can be a great way to relax. However, if you are wearing flimsy slippers that provide little to no support to your feet, you could be doing more harm than good to your feet and end up with chronic pain. Read on to find out how wearing the wrong kind of slippers can affect your feet and the benefits of the right kind of slippers.
Are slippers bad or your feet? Whether slippers could lead to foot problems wholly depends on the slipper design. Wearing standard slippers does not provide adequate arch support, which could lead to conditions such as Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis.
Additionally, the slip-on design of slippers could potentially increase the pressure you feel at your toes. The strap design featured in some designs that cover the front part of your foot does not fully secure your feet, hence wearers are forced to claw their toes to provide grip as they walk. With some slipper designs, your feet move excessively when you walk, resulting in overuse injuries of the tendons and muscles in the legs and feet, leading to heel pain, foot deformities, and corn and callus build-up. Consequently, it is important to find a pair of slippers that will provide you with adequate support and also keep your feet warm and protected. If you have mild foot pain, consider going for a supportive slipper that provides moderate support in their footbed. If your symptoms are more serious, firm soled slippers that feature a removable footbed are a great option.
People who experience foot pain could experience significant discomfort, or even end up doing potential damage by standing and walking around their home in slippers that don’t provide enough support.
Potential consequences of wearing non-supportive slippers
Wearing slippers that don’t provide adequate support to your feet could result in a variety of issues:
1. Plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that is caused when there is an excessive strain of the plantar fascia, which is an arch-supporting ligament, resulting in inflammation and pain at the heel. Slippers that have flat, skinny soles that are inefficient in absorbing impact strain the plantar fascia, making them one of the contributing factors of the condition.
- Symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis – One of the main complaints that are associated with the condition is pain that occurs on the bottom of the heel. Other people report pain occurring at the bottom mid-foot area. Over time, the pain develops gradually. Plantar fasciitis affects only one foot, but it can sometimes affect both of them. Some of those who are afflicted by the condition experience a dull pain, while others describe a sharp pain. Another common symptom is an ache or burning on the bottom of the foot that extends outwards from the heel. The pain tends to worsen in the morning as you take the first steps, or if you have been lying or sitting down for a while. You will also realize that climbing the stairs can prove to be difficult as a result of heel stiffness, and walking barefoot on hard surfaces will also cause pain. After a long day of activity, the pain tends to flare up due to an increase in inflammation.
- Treating and preventing plantar fasciitis – There are several ways through which you can reduce the pain that is caused by plantar fasciitis.
- Opt to wear supportive slippers – Trade your flimsy slippers that lack support for ones that have good arch support and shock absorbency.
- Apply ice on the affected area – Once you identify the area where you feel pain hold an ice pack covered in a piece of cloth over it for a period of 15 to 20 minutes. Do this three to four times a day or after an activity that causes pain to the area. You can also try freezing a water-filled paper cup and apply it to the area of discomfort for about five minutes. When you do this regularly, the pain and inflammation will reduce.
- Stretch your arches – Try to do simple exercises at home that will effectively stretch your plantar fascia and consequently relieve the pain.
- Try a low impact sport – Try reducing exercising activities or change your routine and incorporate low-impact exercises instead.
- Medications – There are pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen that you can take to ease the pain and inflammation that accompanies plantar fasciitis.
- See the doctor – If over-the-counter drugs and home treatments fail to relieve the pain, seek medical treatment from your doctor.
2. Achilles tendinitis
Another condition that is associated with wearing slippers that provide little support to the feet is Achilles tendinitis. It usually occurs as a result of straining of the Achilles tendon, which is the band of tissue that links the calf muscles found at the back of your lower leg to the heel bone.
- Symptoms of Achilles tendinitis – The pain that is typically associated with Achilles tendinitis begins as a mild ache that occurs in the back of your leg or above the heel. You will notice that the pain worsens as you go about your daily activities, and it is even more severe after exercising. You may also experience pain and stiffness in the affected area in the morning.
- Treating and preventing the condition – While you may not be able to prevent Achilles tendinitis, there are ways through which you can deal with the condition or reduce the risk of it developing.
- Choose your slippers and shoes with care – Go for slippers and shoes that will provide ample cushioning for the heel and firm arch support so as to alleviate the tension that may be present in the Achilles tendon.
- Daily stretches – Try to do simple stretches that will stretch the Achilles tendon and the calf muscles. Consider doing these stretch exercises in the morning, before exercise, and after working out to maintain flexibility.
- Cut down on activities – If you notice that some activities cause excessive straining on your tendons, try as much as possible to avoid them or at least warm up by doing low-impact exercises.
- Ice the affected area – Apply ice to the affected area for about 15 to 20 minutes, and then let the area warm up again. This way, the swelling or inflammation will go down faster.
- Take anti-inflammatory medication – There are pain-relieving drugs that you can get from your local pharmacist to help you cope with the pain that is associated with Achilles tendinitis.
- Seek medical attention – If you are unable to treat the pain on your own, seek treatment from your doctor.
3. Corns and calluses
Corns and calluses are hard thickened areas of skin that occur as a result of pressure or friction on the skin. They usually develop naturally in an effort to provide protection to the skin underneath them. Calluses tend to develop on areas of the body where there is continuous friction, including your feet. They are rarely painful and tend to vary in size and shape. Corns, on the other hand, develop as a result of bone pressure occurring against the skin. They are commonly found on the tops or on the sides of toes, or even on weight-bearing areas such as the balls of your feet. Pressing corns can result in pain.
- Symptoms – If a corn or callus is developing on your foot or feet, you will notice a thick, rough patch of skin or a hardened bump that is raised. Other common symptoms include pain or tenderness under your skin and flaky, dry skin.
- Causes – Corns and calluses occur as a result of pressure and friction from various sources such as:
- Wearing loose footwear – Wearing footwear that is too loose such as oversized slippers could lead to the development of corns and calluses. This is because your foot may end up sliding repeatedly and rubbing against the slippers, resulting in friction.
- Neglecting to wear socks – If you frequently forego socks when you wear slippers or shoes, your feet could potentially develop corns or calluses due to the friction on your feet. Socks that don’t fit you properly could also lead to these foot deformities.
- Tight shoes – Shoes or slippers that are too tight can cause compression against areas of your feet and consequently result in corns and calluses.
- Foot deformities – Some foot deformities such as bunions and hammertoe cause constant rubbing against your slipper, consequently increasing the risk of developing corns and calluses.
- Treatment and prevention – There are approaches through which you can prevent these conditions:
- Wear slippers that fit you properly – Ensure that you go for slippers and shoes that are not too tight or too loose. Have someone at your local shoe store measure your foot, or ask them to stretch your footwear at points that pinch or rub your foot.
- Use protective padding – Wear non-medicated corn pads, bandages, or felt pads over the affected areas that are subjected to friction against your footwear. You can also try using toe separators or lamb’s wool between the affected toes.
- Soak the callus or corn in warm water – Ease the pain caused by a corn or callus by soaking the affected area in warm water for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Moisturize – Apply a moisturizing cream or lotion that contains ammonium lactate, salicylic acid, or urea to the affected area. These ingredients are effective in softening corns and calluses over time.
- See a doctor – If your corns and calluses are particularly painful or inflamed, consider seeing your doctor.
Wearing slippers that provide sufficient support
What to look for in a support slipper
When shopping, features to look for in a support slipper include:
- A good orthotic footbed
- A removable insole
- Shock absorbing midsole
The upsides of wearing support slippers
There are several benefits that come with wearing support slippers:
- Arch support – Good supportive slippers provide support no matter the type of arch you have. Adequate arch support ensures that your foot is positioned in a manner that won’t cause pain and discomfort.
- Comfortable and cozy – Supportive slippers are just as comfortable and warm as any other house slipper, so you don’t have to worry about compromising on coziness or style.
- Relieve existing foot conditions – A foot condition can be excruciating and inevitably limiting. Wearing slippers that don’t provide support can make an existing condition even worse, which you probably want to avoid. Opting to wear slippers that provide support can be helpful in easing the symptoms of an existing foot condition.
- More balance and stability – Arch support is an important part of your stability and balance. Footwear that doesn’t have adequate support strains the muscles in the feet and ankles, consequently hindering your balance. Wearing support slippers can vastly improve your balance and stability thanks to the arch support that they provide.
- Improved blood flow to your feet – Support slippers encourage adequate blood flow, which in turn reduces the occurrence of swelling in the ankles and feet that is usually associated with a number of health conditions. Arch support slippers align your feet with your body, consequently promoting proper blood circulation and preventing swelling.
Supportive slippers you might want to consider
- Molded-footbed slipper – If you experience mild foot pain, wearing a support slipper that provides moderate support incorporated into its molded footbed could help alleviate the pain. In addition to providing support, these types of slippers also adequately protect you from minor injuries that could occur indoors.
- Firm soled slippers that feature a removable footbed – If you have a serious foot condition, consider wearing firm soled slippers that have a removable footbed. In addition to reducing the pain you might be experiencing, the enclosed varieties of these slippers provide added protection for your toes. These types of slippers come in a variety of styles and prices, and whatever you go for will depend on your preferences.
Slippers that don’t provide adequate support to your feet can cause potentially painful conditions or worsen the symptoms of an existing ailment. If you have a foot problem, or you simply want to take preventative measures to reduce the chances of occurrence, consider investing in a pair of supportive slippers.