I consider living in Australia one of the luckiest things my ancestors did. And for that I am eternally grateful. I have travelled to many countries, but there is nothing like Australia. I love that our summers coincide with Christmas, and our winters are only mild compared to many other places in the world.
We have developed a very unique culture in Australia due to our climate, and one of those things is wearing thongs all summer. I know many people wear thongs all year. But why as a Podiatrist do we discourage our patients from wearing them?
- No support – thongs are an extremely flimsy pair of shoes; they only consist of a rubber sole and the strap that runs between your toes to the sides of your mid foot.
- No protection – if you drop something on your foot when wearing thongs it is going to hurt (how many times have you done that!). We see many diabetic patients, and one of the problems they develop is peripheral neuropathy, that is they lose sensation in their feet. If diabetics drop something on their feet they don’t feel it and it can cause a nasty injury, even ulcerate their feet. You can see how we are not keen on that.
- No arch support or cushioning – most thongs are just a flat piece of rubber, which has no shock absorption, or arch support. Both of these things are important in a shoes, especially as you get older, and have arthritis in your feet.
- Affect your posture – because you have no support in this shoe, they don’t bend the same way your feet do, and therefore changes your body’s mechanics. This will aggravate other joints like your knees, lower back and hips.
- Damages your toes – because there is no support in this shoes, your toes claw to hold you more securely on the shoe. Also being open toed you are at an increased risk for stubbed toes, torn toenails and broken toes.
- Expose your feet to infections – while wearing thongs around pools or the beach is ideal as it is a better choice than bare feet, they still put your feet at risk of infections. As there is no protection, if you break the skin, you are open to bacterial, fungal or viral infections.
- Increased risk of falls – thongs may be a beloved part of our culture, but you are at more risk of having a fall caused by thongs, than wearing normal shoes. How many times have you tripped up a step due to the thongs catching on the ledge? I bet, like me, too many times.
Now I am not going to change a country from wearing these shoes, and it is very hot over summer, so what are the alternatives? You can wear sandals that have more straps or be more selective with your choice of thongs.
We carry 2 brands of thongs in the clinic that we have thoroughly tested (yes we do wear thongs too). We have Archies, which are a brand of thongs that look very similar to Havaianas except they have an arch support in them. They look great and have that extra support.
The other brand we carry are Ofoos thongs, these have thicker soles, with an arch support and the straps come down lower on your foot so they are more supportive. These are especially good for around the house if you have tiled floors or hardwood floors, or suffer from heel pain.
If you want to know what thongs suit you best, don’t hesitate to come into the clinic, and we can help you out. Just give us a call on 9542 3491, or pop in to see us at Sutherland.
Have a great week
Narelle and the team from Sutherland Podiatry Centre