Foot, insert and shoe with flowers signaling Spring

Summer Fever and Foot Pain

The sun is shining. The birds are singing and the scent of fresh blossoms waft gently in my open windows. Can you feel it? The birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming. The warm weather is finally here in full force. But sadly, with spring and summer comes foot pain. I want to get outside and feel the sun as it hits my face but all this extra activity puts extra stress on my footwear, and more importantly, my feet.

Summer fever and foot pain

Flips flops, crocs, and thong-toed shoes all make a comeback when the temperatures finally rebound into above freezing levels. Yet each spring, the story remains the same. In my head, I think, “I’ve got this. A little extra sunshine is a good thing. I’ll just slide on these shoes, easy-peasy and head out to enjoy a few rays.” But it turns out when you live with PsA, it simply isn’t that easy.

Small changes and big consequences

I know. You’d think that a small change in footwear shouldn’t be a big deal. But oh how wrong you’d be. It seems that even the slightest difference in, well, pretty much anything, and my feet seem to rebel like they are getting paid to do it. Throbbing, swelling, and all-around achiness signal that warmer weather must be here.

After some deliberation (and some convincing arguments from my kiddos), I talk myself into a short stroll to enjoy the sun I’ve so greatly missed. And now here I sit with a serious case of Summer Fever and throbbing feet. So I figured we could all do with some reminders and tips to combat foot pain when summer fever hits.

Tips to combat summer fever induced foot pain

Invest in good quality, supportive footwear

The days of flimsy Converse sneakers are long gone. Supportive, comfortable footwear is a must, but it isn’t cheap. Take the time (and sadly pay the money) to invest in good quality, well-fitting footwear. Or at a minimum, get some great inserts that you can change in and out of several different pairs of shoes. I personally love my Vionic inserts because they allow me to still wear “cute” shoes and several different kinds depending on how my feet are feeling. Some areas also have shops where you can go and get professionally “fitted” for inserts as well.

Bonus points if it is adjustable

There is nothing I love more than shoes with adjustable straps. That way, I can change how they fit based on how swollen my feet are, especially around the area just below my toes. Shoes with the adjustable strap around the ball of the foot offer the most flexibility between flare and non-flare days.

Take frequent breaks

Getting out and enjoying the nice weather should be a marathon, not a sprint. You will certainly enjoy it much more if you remember to take frequent breaks. Sit down and have a little rest. Just remember not to sit for too long, otherwise, your joints will just lock up again and you won’t be able to get back up!

Water, water, water

I know you’ve heard it before, but remembering to drink water throughout the day which can help with blood circulation and in turn, keep those joints nice and lubed up. Dehydration is a major contributing factor to leg and foot pain. Keep that bottle handy and refill it often.

After time on your feet, prop them up

My mom used to always prop up her feet after a long day and I never quite understood why. But now I know. Elevating your legs after spending time on your feet can help relieve some of the pressure and even (if you are lucky) reduce some of the swelling. For the best effects, keep them above your heart.

Compression socks

I like the short ankle ones, not the long ones that go up to my knees. I’m not sure why, it just seems like the long ones make my legs hurt worse, while the short ones offer a lot of support for the balls of my feet and my ankles. Compression socks are my best friends for the duration of spring and summer. Even if they look a little goofy with my sandals. But they do come in fun colors, so there's that I guess. I may not win any fashion awards, but at least my feet will have tolerable levels of pain. So I'll take it!

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