For the past year or so, I've been having pain in my right foot, specifically in the region between my big and second toe. The pain came and went, always getting worse in the summer months. I blamed flip-flops, that is until went to a local, well-respected shoe store chain that has podiatrists on staff. (How cool is that?) On this particular visit, the said on-staff podiatrist that day came up to me and asked if I was having any specific foot issues. After I said I was, we engaged in a very eye-opening discussion, which went something like this:
Me, pointing to where it hurts: I think it's from occasional flip-flop use.
Dr. Foot, raising his eyebrow: Let's take a look. Hmm. Looks like your toes are out of alignment.
Me: Out of alignment! From wearing flip-flops??
Dr. Foot: Not necessarily. It could be heredity or....
Me: Or what?
Dr. Foot: Does your house have a lot of hard wood and tile?
Dr. Foot: I tell all my patients that have such floors to get a pair of house shoes.
Me: So if I start wearing shoes in the house, the pain will go away?
Dr. Foot: Well, you need to get those toes back into alignment first. You can go to a chiropractor that specializes in extremities or you can try popping them into alignment yourself. (He told me how; basically pulling gently but firmly on each toe.)
Me: Great! So that will fix it?
Dr. Foot: Yes, but if you don't start wearing shoes in the house, they'll just go back out of alignment.
This explained so much. My pain became worse in the summer, not necessarily because of flip-flops but because I ran around the house barefooted sans even the flimsiest slippers for cushion. I left the shoe store that day with a pair of super cute and comfy Keens with arch support.
Later, when at home, I did as the doctor told me and popped my toes into alignment (no, it didn't hurt) and then slipped on my new Keens. Three days of wearing the shoes in the house, and occasionally checking my piggies to see if they needed to be popped into place, my pain was diminished considerably. Now, several weeks since I've been wearing shoes in the house, my toes rarely pop when I tug on them and the pain is gone completely.
So, take heed. If your feet are achy, it might not be your shoes. It might be your floors. Try wearing shoes in the house for awhile and see what happens. You just might be surprised. And pain free.