We love summer, and we all love wandering around the beach airing our toes. We give little thought to what flip-flops could be doing to our skeletal system if wearing them too much.
Unfortunately, they can be bad for the long-term health of our feet and what happens down there can often have a knock-on effect further up the body. This time of year is the worst, as people switch from their supportive winter footwear to their floppy beach counterparts.
Flip-flops offer no arch support, heel cushioning, or shock absorption. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, that combination can lead to overuse of tendons and muscles, not only in your feet, but also in hips, ankles, knees and back.
A study conducted by researchers at Auburn University found that wearing thong-style flip-flops can result in problems and pain from the foot up into the hips and lower back. According to the researchers, people alter their gait when walking in flip-flops. They often take shorter steps as they must grip the flip-flops with their toes to stop them flying off and their heels hit the ground with much more force because there’s no cushioning in a flip-flop.
One big problem with flip-flops is the fact that you have to grip the shoe with your toes. This makes your toes work harder than other shoes demand. That can lead to a variety of problems:
Flip-flops also lack arch supports, which help keep your knees, heels and back aligned. Without that support, your joints try to compensate. That leads to overuse, and to injuries such as Achilles tendonitis (injury to the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone), Plantar Fasciitis, or even low back pain and headaches… Yes, headaches!
Then there’s your posture. Flip-flops are flat, so they don’t bend the way your bare foot does when walking. That alters biomechanics and affects your posture.
If you want to get your toes out this summer then we suggest a well-made, properly fitted and supportive pair of sandals or flip-flops. Even better is to contact us as our laboratory can make prescription flip-flops that are specific to you. They look the same as normal flip flops, to the naked eye, but are shaped specifically to control your foot. They help your foot mechanics and posture in a very similar way to bespoke foot orthotics.
Alternatively, go bare foot as the foot has evolved with no shoes intended! If you do this though Please get your foot mechanics checked first to ensure that this doesn’t create new problems purely and you are unused to walking barefoot. Are you a keen runner, or are increasing your mileage (maybe from Couch to 5K) then you could certainly benefit from sports massage therapy to your legs.
If you want to know more, then book in now to see one of our team of chiropractors and osteopaths who can give you some advice, on how to avoid a summer of pain. Here at reflex we are passionate about your health and wellbeing. As such we are offering a complimentary 15-minute Flip-Flop and Spinal Health Check to anyone worried about their choice summer footwear.
Call Reflex Spinal Health at 0118946 2100 today!
17 Church Road, Caversham, Reading, Berkshire RG4 7AA
Reflex Spinal Health are a passionate, dynamic spinal health team. We are committed to help as many in our community of Reading, Berkshire and South Oxfordshire to enjoy the vitality of great health, to reach their health goals and feel truly alive! Our chiropractors and osteopaths offer the highest standards of care in a superb environment.