It’s that time of year again – flip-flop season, writes Reading Chiropractor Beccy Norman. Every year in clinic I see patients that have been doing great. But, all of a sudden they have new issues, or their old issues suddenly crop up out of nowhere and we are all left a bit confused. Then I suddenly realise what the problem is – the dreaded flip-flops are back! Although they are convenient and cool on warm summer days, here are many drawbacks to using them regularly. At Reflex Spinal Health we recommend that you stay away from flip-flops as much as possible! As much as I’d like to tell you to chuck them in the bin, the compromise is to keep them for use by the pool. Below I’ve discussed just a few reasons why they’re a bad idea in the hope that I might be able to convince you! So, here are my 5 reasons to stay away from flip-flops!
Many of us have weak arches and over pronate. We prescribe foot orthotics to a lot of our patients to combat this issue. When wearing flip-flops you obviously can’t wear your orthotics! Even worse flip-flops provide absolutely no support whatsoever. When the foot rolls in this puts pressure through the whole lower limb train from your big toe, to your knees and all the way up to your hips and low back. You may also experience shin pain known as shin splints. If you are desperate to wear flip flops but avoid these issues then the best thing to do is see our wonderful osteopath Seb Murtagh for a gait scan. He can let you know whether you are a good candidate for prescription orthotic flip-flops.
Here is a video about our “flip-flop checks” by the lovely Jérémie Agius who returned home to France last year!
When wearing flip-flops, we often curl our toes to hold on to the flip-flops while walking. There is also the issue that while wearing flip-flops we tend to take shorter strides and don’t lift the leg up properly. These compensations combined cause tightness in the Achilles tendon. This can lead to tendonitis, which is inflammation of the Achilles. This is not only painful but can also then cause problems higher up the leg and start to tighten the claves as well. This can cause pain day to day and even more so when trying to exercise. If this has happened to you , then your practitioner can help alleviate the symptoms and give you some stretches to loosen things off.
Wearing flip-flops changes the biomechanics of the whole body. They can cause your pelvis to tilt forward and the feet to roll In. This increases the pressure on the low back. This includes both the joints and the musculature. This is why regular flip-flop usage is so commonly linked with low back pain. This isn’t just walking in them but also standing around. There is also increased pressure through your hips and knees. This can very quickly produce pain in these areas. Once you begin to feel uncomfortable you will start to compensate and stand in even more awkward postures and begin to walk differently which will exacerbate the problem even further.
There is little to no shock absorption with flip-flops. This means that as you walk, your heel is literally taking a pounding. Over time this can cause micro-fractures in the heel. These will be very painful and can also be really quite difficult to heal without spending extended amounts of time off your feet! Flip-flops are also associated with a painful condition called plantar fasciitis. This is a painful condition that happens when the connective tissue under the foot becomes inflamed. Over time this can then also cause a bony heel spur to occur. Plantar fasciitis happens because you are repeatedly irritating or tearing the fascia. Not a good idea!
As we previously mentioned, wearing flip-flops makes your subconsciously grip with your toes to keep them on. If you already have bunions, this can make them so much worse . The gripping of the toes can also cause tendonitis In these muscles. They are also very likely to cause blisters in between the toes. Once you have the blisters this will make you walk differently and therefore cause problems higher up once again.
Many people ask me about different brands and if one type of flip flop is better than another. Although all flip-flops are not created equally the easiest thing to do Is to stay away from them completely or come In and see Seb about our orthotic flip-flops……. Which are AWESOME!
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.