What is it and should I be worried?
Over the past few months, many of us have enjoyed the luxury of being productive at work from the comfort of our own home. As the temperature drops, we tend to reach for our trusty slippers to keep our toes cozy. The trouble is, those slippers were not necessarily meant for wearing to work, and they are generally a much different type of shoe than we are used to wearing for most of the day.
What is the problem?
There are two issues associated with wearing flat, slip-on (albeit cozy) shoes. The first is that this type of footwear is a bit sloppy – don’t get us wrong, that’s what makes them great! However, sloppy doesn’t provide the support and structure that your feet are used to day in, day out. Even someone who works at a desk will accumulate between 4000-5000 steps per day. Wearing unsupportive slippers for that many steps all of a sudden causes the soft tissues and small muscles of the foot to have to work much harder than they are used to, and in many cases, the tissues simply cannot cope. When the soft tissues become overwhelmed, they begin to break down and become painful. They are then unable to do their very important work of supporting the position of the feet, which in turn affects the position of your knees, hips and low back as well.
The second issue is that the slip-in nature of this footwear also makes them easy to slip out of, and may become a slip or trip hazard as you go about your regular activities. Slippers are best for relaxing in, not for housework, walking the dog, working around wet surfaces, etc.
(Please note there is also the risk of infection from bacteria growing inside sheepskin-lined footwear. Whilst this is not strictly a physiotherapy-related issue, it is worth mentioning.)
What is the solution?
Of course, there is no need to stop wearing your favourite slippers altogether. As with most things in life, moderation is the key. Try to match your footwear to your activity, and wear your regular, supportive shoes during working hours even when you are at home, saving the slippers for before and after work. Also keep your trainers at the ready for the dog walks and trips outside. And if the slippers have become unduly worn out, torn, or ill-fitting, treat yourself to a new pair to avoid a fall.
If you have developed pain in your foot, arch or heel that doesn’t resolve with putting your work shoes back on, book in to see your SquareOne Physio for an individualised assessment and treatment plan or call our team to book an appointment.