Transitioning from summer’s open-style footwear like sandals to closed footwear like shoes and boots can bring about various foot and ankle issues for many individuals. This transition can be particularly challenging for those with existing foot conditions such as bunions and hammertoes.  PediFix explores the common foot and ankle issues that people may encounter during this seasonal shift and delves into the specific challenges faced by those with bunions and hammertoes.

Common Foot and Ankle Issues During the Transition

Blisters and Corns

One of the most immediate issues people may experience when switching from sandals to closed shoes is the development of blisters and corns. Closed shoes often have seams, edges, or materials that can rub against the skin, leading to friction and irritation. This can result in the formation of painful blisters and corns, which are hard, thickened areas of skin that develop in response to repetitive friction or pressure.

PediFix Visco-GEL Toe Protector relieves blisters and other toe irritations. Soft fabric-covered cap surrounds, protects, and soothes with our exclusive Gel to absorb pressure and friction while releasing mineral oil to soften and moisturize skin.

PediFix Visco-GEL Corn Protectors absorb pressure & friction, and protect, soothe, and soften corns. Visco-GEL releases mineral oil enriched with vitamin E to moisturize skin while the Soft’N Stretch™ Fabric Sleeve keeps Gel in position without adhesives.

Ingrown Toenails

Closed shoes, especially those with a narrow or tight toe box, can increase the risk of ingrown toenails. When the pressure from the shoes pushes against the sides of the toenail, it can cause the nail to grow into the surrounding skin, leading to pain, redness, and even infection if left untreated.

Athlete’s Foot and Fungal Infections

Closed footwear creates a warm, moist environment that is conducive to the growth of fungi like Athlete’s Foot. This condition can cause itching, burning, and flaking of the skin between the toes and the soles of the feet. Fungal infections can be exacerbated by the lack of ventilation and moisture control in closed shoes.

PediFix® ShoeZap 15 Minute UV Shoe Sanitizer is a fast, easy way to kill fungus and bacteria using UVC germicidal light. One-size sanitizer fits in any shoe, and can also be used on small items that fit into the Protection Bag.

Arch and Heel Pain

Transitioning to shoes with inadequate arch support can lead to arch and heel pain. Sandals typically provide minimal support, and individuals with flat feet or high arches may experience discomfort when shifting to closed shoes that also lack proper arch support. This can result in conditions like plantar fasciitis, which is characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia and causes heel pain.

PediFix is now the Exclusive source for QuickTape
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are designed to relieve heel pain instantly, reduce inflammation, and prevent injuries by providing support and alignment to your feet. This unique method of support can help you get back on your feet and back to your daily activities without the discomfort and stress caused by foot pain.
Crafted from a thin and breathable material, QUICK TAPE Support Straps are comfortable to wear and can be easily applied and removed. These straps can be worn for up to 7 days and are also waterproof, which means you can even wear them in the shower.  To be certain that you are ordering the correct size, please measure the circumference of your bare forefoot about 1” below where your ankle connects to the top of your foot.
Available in 3, 6, or 10 per pack.
QUICKTAPE® STANDARD strap will fit a circumference of 7.5” to 10”
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Muscle and Tendon Tightness

Wearing sandals often allows the foot to move more freely, while closed shoes restrict this movement. This sudden change can lead to muscle and tendon tightness, especially in the Achilles tendon and calf muscles. This tightness can contribute to issues such as Achilles tendinitis and calf strains.

Taming Bunions and Hammertoes

Challenges for Individuals with Bunions
Increased Pressure on Bunions

Bunions are bony protrusions that form at the base of the big toe joint, and they often cause the big toe to deviate towards the other toes. Closed shoes with a narrow toe box can put increased pressure on bunions, exacerbating the condition and causing pain and discomfort. The friction between the bunion and the shoe can lead to the development of corns or calluses.

PediFix® Visco-GEL® Bunion Guard relieves pain and makes shoes more comfortable! This soft Gel shield cushions and protects sore bunions from pressure and friction. Visco-GEL releases vitamin E and mineral oil to soothe and soften skin. The slim design fits easily in most shoes. A soft, stretchable toe loop holds the Guard in place without adhesives. PediFix Visco-GEL Bunion Guard is washable and reusable for months. Interchangeable for the left or right foot.

Difficulty Finding Comfortable Footwear

Individuals with bunions may struggle to find closed shoes that accommodate their foot shape without causing discomfort. They may need to seek out shoes with a wider toe box or explore options designed specifically for people with bunions. Finding stylish and supportive shoes can be a challenging task.

Risk of Bunion Progression

Continuously wearing closed shoes that don’t properly accommodate bunions can lead to the progression of the condition. As the big toe continues to deviate, the bunion can become more painful and may eventually require surgical intervention to correct.

Challenges for Individuals with Hammertoes
Rubbing and Pressure on Hammertoes

Hammertoes are characterized by the abnormal bending of one or more toe joints, causing the affected toes to resemble a hammer or claw. Closed shoes can exacerbate hammertoes by pressing against the deformed toes, leading to discomfort and potential pain. The rubbing and pressure can also cause corns and calluses to develop.

PediFix Visco-GEL Hammer Toe Cushion soothes ball-of-foot pain often associated with hammer, claw, or arthritic toe conditions. The gel ring holds the cushion in place without adhesives. PediFix Visco-GEL Hammer Toe Cushions are available separately for the right or left foot, or a universal one-size-fits-most version that is interchangeable from right to left foot.

Limited Toe Movement

Closed shoes restrict toe movement more than sandals, making it challenging for individuals with hammertoes to find footwear that doesn’t exacerbate their condition. The inability to flex the toes comfortably can lead to stiffness and further deformity of the affected toes.

Difficulty with Shoe Selection

Like those with bunions, individuals with hammertoes may have difficulty finding closed shoes that accommodate their foot shape. They may need to seek out shoes with a roomier toe box or choose styles that provide extra space and cushioning for the toes.

Tips for a Smooth Transition

To minimize the foot and ankle issues associated with transitioning from open-style footwear to closed footwear, especially for individuals with bunions and hammertoes, consider the following tips:

1-Choose Proper Footwear

Opt for shoes with a wider toe box to accommodate bunions and hammertoes comfortably. Look for shoes that provide adequate arch support to reduce the risk of arch and heel pain. Prioritize shoes made from breathable materials to prevent moisture buildup and fungal infections.

2-Gradual Transition

Transition gradually from sandals to closed shoes. Start by wearing closed shoes for short periods each day and gradually increase the duration. Consider wearing open-toed shoes or those with a more relaxed fit when the situation allows, even during the transition period.

3-Maintain Foot Hygiene

Keep your feet clean and dry to prevent fungal infections. Use moisture-wicking socks to help manage sweat and reduce the risk of Athlete’s Foot.

4-Use Orthotics and Cushioning

Consider using orthotic insoles or inserts to provide extra support and cushioning for your feet. Pads or gel cushions can also help alleviate pressure on bunions and hammertoes.

5-Stretch and Exercise

Perform regular stretching exercises for your calf muscles and Achilles tendon to prevent tightness. Toe exercises may help maintain flexibility and reduce stiffness in the toes.

6-Seek Professional Advice

If you have bunions or hammertoes, consult a podiatrist for personalized recommendations and treatment options. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct these conditions. Discuss surgical options with a healthcare professional.

Transitioning from summer’s open-style footwear to closed footwear can bring about various foot and ankle issues, ranging from blisters and corns to arch pain and fungal infections. Individuals with pre-existing conditions like bunions and hammertoes face additional challenges, including increased pressure, limited shoe options, and potential progression of their conditions.

To make this seasonal shift more comfortable and minimize foot and ankle problems, it is crucial to choose proper footwear, transition gradually, maintain good foot hygiene, use orthotics and cushioning when necessary, perform stretching exercises, and seek professional advice when needed. By taking these precautions and being mindful of their foot health, individuals can enjoy the benefits of closed shoes and boots while minimizing discomfort and potential complications.