A recent article by Slate writer, Dana Stevens, has gained a lot of attention. No it’s not an article reviewing a movie, which is what she usually writes about, but an article discussing her distaste for the beloved flip flop.
There have been numerous studies suggesting that the popular flip flops are bad for our feet. They have been shown to place the feet at risk for multiple pathological abnormalities. Yet every week this summer I have had patients walk into the office, dressed in flip flops, complaining of foot pain, knee pain or back pain, and yet they have no idea what could possible be causing their pain.
Believe me, I understand how convenient and somewhat comfortable wearing flip flops are, but I do want you to be aware of some of the concerns of wearing flip flops routinely.
Flip flops simply do not provide enough support for our feet. How could a flat piece of leather or rubber, which is held to foot by only a thin strap possibly, provide the absorption, cushioning or support our feet need to function properly?
An article in the Huffington Post by Laura Shocker discusses some common issues with prolonged flip flop use.
- Stress Fractures – with minimal cushioning an support of the bones of the foot, overuse of flip flops can lead to increase stress resulting in tiny cracks in the bone
- Toes – with minimal support of the toes, your toes are constantly gripping to keep the shoe on. This can lead to increased strain on the tendons under the foot resulting in tendonitis.
- Arch/Heel– with minimal support in the arch of the foot, the plantar fascia, which is a band running from your heel to the balls of your feet, can become overstretched and inflammation leading to the common condition of plantar fasciitis.
- Foot pad – because your feet are in constant motion when wearing a flip flop this can create friction under the pads of your feet. This may result in burning or blisters under the foot.
Things to Consider when purchasing a Flip Flop
- The Bend/Twist Test – If you can bend a flip flop in the center or twist it like a dishrag, then you know there is no support in that shoe.
- Check the Arch – If the flip flop is completely flat, then it lacks arch in the support. Also look for flip flops with a thicker sole, especially on the inner side of the shoe.
- More Straps– a flip flop with a strap in the back or a thicker and longer strap in the front will prevent excessive foot motion.
Now if you happen to see me going down the street in flip flops, please don’t call me out as I do believe that there is a place for flip flops in our society specifically if going to the pool, heading to the beach or walking in a locker room. Otherwise, wear them in moderation and try to incorporate more supportive footwear into your daily wear.
Remember, to get you bak on your feet, contact The Chiropractic Office!