The humble thong: Australian, summery, foot pain.

Posted by Daniel Fitzpatrick on December 6, 2012

Wearing thongs in summer is as Australian as Boxing Day cricket. We all own them, and wear them frequently as the mercury ticks above 28°C. But consider what foot pain the humble thong is causing the next time you slip them on.

The trouble with thongs

Cheap, carefree, and the essence of summer. However it is likely the thin piece of rubber between you and the searing pavement is causing more harm than good. Thongs offer little to no support which isn’t helping your feet, despite people’s personal theories. Wearing thongs in small amounts is probably harmless, however given the amount many Australian’s wear thongs it’s little wonder why they are a contributing factor in foot pain. Thongs contribute to clawed digits, hammer toes, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, bunions and most other foot pain, which means you will be seeing me, your podiatrist, more often!

So, what do we need in a summer shoe?

  • Breathability: Summer means hot weather. Your feet swell and you sweat in your shoes a lot more, increasing the likelihood of tinea (athlete’s foot) and constraint in poorly fitting shoes. It’s good for the skin on your feet to breathe, particularly considering many of us spend a lot of time in closed footwear.
  • Support: There are many styles of slip-ons and sandals that have very good level of podiatry support. As a podiatrist in many cases I recommend Birkenstock, as they provide a high level of support and are hard wearing. I even use Birkenstocks as part of a treatment strategy in many foot pain cases. Orthaheel also have a good range, and Teva are supportive too.

Thongs with support

  • Slip on and slip off: You still need a quick and carefree summer shoe, and there are many options out there such as Merrell, Ecco, and Rockport. All sell styles that are slip on, but much offer better support than thongs.

thong-slip-ons

We get no kickbacks from any shoe company above, this is honest opinion.

All things in moderation

Limit your thong wearing time down to 1 hour per day a few times per week and you should be ok. If you find your self in thongs for longer periods I would definitely consider one of the options above. That way you will look after your feet and enjoy good long term foot health, helping avoid chronic foot pain and heel pain.

If you are experiencing foot pain or heel pain you should make an appointment at our podiatry clinic by calling (02) 8966-9300, and we will examine your individual needs. The advice above is general, and we all have unique biomechanics for optimal foot and leg health.

So take a fresh look at summer in style, and avoid foot pain. We’re here to provide support for you and your feet.

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