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Are Your Flip Flops Failing You?

Shorts, swimsuits, and yes, flip-flops are all wardrobe staples of the summer! While flip-flops and sandals are great for hot summer days, a lot of them can be very detrimental to our health. What we choose to put on our feet will affect everything from our posture, stride, joints, and feet. Here are some issues with flip-flops to consider this summer:

1. No Support. Flip flops, as the name would imply, are a rather flimsy and unsupportive shoe. There is no arch support, which can cause a lot of pain and discomfort in the arch. There is also no healing support which can put a lot of pressure on the heels and increase the risk for plantar fasciitis, lower back pain, and knee issues.

2. Mess with Your Stride. The best way to walk is “heel to toe” which means your heel hits the ground first and then you transition the weight to your toes in a fluid motion. The design of a flip-flop makes it impossible to walk this way (without it flopping off!). You are forced to walk more flat-footed, which can exacerbate foot, joint, and lower back pain.

3. Increase Chance of Injury. Okay, let’s just say it, we all have not-so-graceful moments sometimes. Wearing a flimsy and unsupportive shoe like a flip-flop will increase your chances of slipping, tripping, rolling an ankle, or stepping on something that could injure your foot. Especially if you will be on unlevel terrain, it is crucial to choose a supportive shoe!

4. Perpetuate Poor Posture. Standing for long periods in flip-flops will tend to shift your weight onto your heels or outer arch. You may find yourself locking your knees more or slouching to try and compensate for the pain/pressure on your feet. Based on the lack of support we discussed, it will be more difficult to maintain good posture in a flip-flop.

5. Swollen Feet. In the hot months, you may notice your feet and ankles swell. This is especially true of people with certain medical conditions that cause edema, but even healthy individuals may see this especially, if dehydrated or consuming too much sugar. A closed shoe provides compression on the foot and can help keep blood circulating. Flip flops do no such thing, so you are more likely to see this swelling, especially if out walking around for long periods.

In summary, we all know flip-flops are a convenient summer shoe choice. But when it comes to times you’re out and about for long periods, you would be better off considering a shoe with at least some arch and heel support. For casual outings, some sandals offer this support, such as Clarks. For more active outings (walking, hiking, biking, etc.) a closed-toe, supportive athletic shoe is best. Plan your summer days accordingly to make sure you have appropriate footwear to allow you to power through the day and support your overall health!

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Doctor of Chiropractic
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