Flip Flops 101: Potential Danger of Summer Footwear

Aug 8, 2013 8:40am

By now, most of us have heard that wearing stiletto heels are not great for our feet, legs or back.  Think it’s safer to go with flats? Perhaps a nice, natural-feeling flip-flop? Sadly, think again.

Podiatrists’ offices are seeing women with foot pain caused by a summer season spent in slides, also known as flip-flops.

So, look down at your own feet. If you can see your nice, summer nail polish peeking up at you in a pair of flip-flops, you may want to read on.

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Research from Auburn University suggests that wearing flip-flops for excessive amounts of time could cause temporary or even long-term damage to the musculoskeletal system.

For one thing, flip-flops lack proper arch support, causing your full body weight to exert pressure on the plantar surface of the foot.  With time, this may cause widening of the foot and arch collapse.

When the toes crunch up in an effort to grip the front sole of the shoe, this can disrupt the dynamics of the stride, resulting in a shortened stride, with consequences going up the body from the knees, to the hips, to the lower back.

Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis are also possible.

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So what does this mean for your summer foot wardrobe? Don’t despair! You can still wear this summer fashion staple – but there are a few recommendations.

Firstly, limit time spent in flip-flops by wearing a variety of different types of shoes.

Secondly, try to avoid walking long distances in flip-flops.

Lastly, choose a flip-flop with good arch support and good cushioning for your sole.

Realize that anything done to excess has the potential to cause problems to your body and, unfortunately, wearing these cool summer shoes are no exception.  They represent the extreme of flatness just as stilettos represent the extreme of heights. Both can land you in the podiatrist’s office!

Remember that even pain in your low back can be a sign that your footwear needs a change.

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