One of the joys of warmer weather is spending time outside. It seems that we’re finding even more joy this summer after being cooped up for months during the coronavirus pandemic. So what brings you outside? For many people, it’s taking care of the lawn and garden. They see it as a fun, therapeutic hobby. For others, it’s just an annoying chore. Whichever group you fall in, there’s one thing you should keep in mind: it really matters what shoes you wear while tending the yard.

Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm, board-certified podiatrist here at, Clifton Foot & Ankle Center, in Fairfax County, Virginia, advises homeowners and gardeners to do these two things:

  1. Replace gardening shoes that don’t provide support.
    Every year, we see patients who’ve injured their feet simply by wearing shoes that are long past their expiration date. Like food, shoes don’t last forever. And while you won’t find a date stamped on your shoes telling you when to toss them, you can still look for these signs of expiration: worn-down heels; non-existent tread; holes or tears; lack of cushioning. Gardening in worn-out shoes leads to problems like heel pain and tendinitis.
  2. Wear sturdy work boots when mowing the lawn.
    Every year, thousands of Americans end up in hospital emergency rooms with lawn mower injuries. A great many of these injuries involve the lower legs, feet, and toes. Avoiding a toe amputation begins with wearing the proper footwear. Sandals or flip-flops leave your feet completely exposed, and sneakers can be flimsy. When mowing the lawn, always choose heavy work boots to reduce your chances of lower limb injury.

Wearing proper shoes while working outside will protect you from strains, sprains, overuse injuries, slips and falls, and heartbreaking amputations. If you’re an enthusiastic gardener with foot pain, find out if it’s bad shoes or something else by making an appointment with us. Contact our Centreville podiatry office online, or call (703) 996-3000.

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