Enjoying Tulip Time Without Heel Pain

by | Apr 16, 2019

If you are looking for our definitive annual festival, the hands down choice is Tulip Time.

For 90 years (and many more beyond), our town has drawn in people from around Michigan, the nation, and the world to enjoy a celebration of spring color and Dutch culture. More than a half million attendees are reported to attend Tulip Time each year now.

Anyone who wants to join in on the fun should prepare to do a lot of moving. Whether you are perusing the artisan market, viewing the giant wooden shoes of the Klompen Garden or trying to pick up some Dutch dance lessons, you will be on your feet quite a bit. And we haven’t even yet mentioned the Tulip Time Run!

If you live with heel pain, then the thought of strolling about Tulip Time might make you wilt a little. Even if you don’t have consistent heel pain, it can also be easy to underestimate the toll a day out can have on your feet and leave you aching by bedtime.

Long-term heel pain should always be examined and treated by a podiatrist, but everyone can benefit from some tips to help keep your Holland happenings free from the hassles of heel pain. A few simple choices really can go a long way.

What Are You Wearing?

Your footwear of choice can have a big impact on how your feet—and even your knees, legs, and hips—feel toward the end of the day.

We should probably get this out of the way first: wooden shoes are a big part of local heritage, but they are not the best choice for a full day out. Try some on a bit for fun, but don’t leave them on unless you’re in full costume.

On the other end of the spectrum from rigid wooden shoes are flip-flops, and these are not a good choice, either. Flip-flops are too flat and thin, and are barely held onto your feet. Spending a day walking around in them will not give your feet the support they need. In fact, your feet can experience more subconscious strain as you try to keep the flip-flops on your feet.

Ultimately, spending the day in shoes that are too inflexible or too weak can both cause undue pressure on the feet and lead to heel pain—especially plantar fasciitis. The ideal shoes for all-day walking will be cushioned, yet supportive and somewhat flexible. They will also fit well with little sliding of the foot within each shoe.

You ideally do not want to choose this day to take out a brand-new pair of shoes, either. Instead, try a new pair of shoes for at least a few hours before you commit to spending an entire day in them, just in case they cause irritation, pain, or blisters. That way, you won’t be trapped in them if they start causing you trouble away from home.

Give Yourself a Break

Spending extended hours walking or even standing can take a toll on the feet over the course of the day. It doesn’t matter whether you are having fun doing so or not.

People are simply not made to spend all day standing or walking. This is especially true if the surface you are on all day is hard, like a sidewalk. Whenever you have an opportunity, take a few minutes each hour to take a seat and give your feet a bit of a break.

Are you looking for a good opportunity to sit down a bit at Tulip Fest? Take advantage of the Tulip City Tours, which will ferry you around to some of the best spots of the festival on a trolley. Of course, a nice bench will do the trick just as well. And even if you find yourself still having to stand, see if you can change the environment beneath your feet. Standing on grass, wood chips, or other softer surface during the parade or while browsing stalls at the park can make a significant difference to your comfort level.

Carry Light

Excess baggage over the course of a day can lead to more fatigue on your heels than you might expect. If you are planning on purchasing plenty of goodies during the festival, it will help your heels and make things more comfortable all around to either take the items to your car or plan on buying them closer to when you expect to leave.

If you plan on carrying general items throughout the day, such as snacks and water, a small backpack can help keep that weight centered and evenly distributed on your body, which your feet will thank you for.

Get the Specific Help You Need Beforehand

While general tips can take the edge off many instances of heel pain, the best way to find relief in most cases is addressing the specific cause of the problem.

Whether you have plantar fasciitis, are susceptible to Achilles tendinitis, or have other issues that are causing you trouble, there are often conservative treatments that will help you significantly. These can range from specific stretching and exercise regimens to the use of custom orthotics to providing specific support and balance where needed.

No matter how long you have had heel pain, taking real action on it now can do a lot to make all your Tulip Times—and many other future events—a lot more enjoyable. We would be happy to schedule an appointment at either of our two offices:

  • Holland – (616) 393-8886
  • Joseph – (269) 429-7670

If you would prefer to contact us electronically, you can do that too. Simply fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will respond.

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Holland Office

388 Garden Avenue, Suite 120
Holland, MI 49424
Phone: 616-393-8886
Fax: 616-393-9975



Holland: Mon - Fri, 8am - 5pm

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