During the summer, flip-flops have become the footwear of choice. But you may not realize that flip-flops are actually bad if you wear them for more than just the beach or the pool.
Not only do these increasingly popular sandals raise the risk of foot-related problems such as plantar fasciitis, but they also increase the probability of injury from falling, tripping, and joint misalignment.
In fact, according to the National Health Service in the UK, flip-flops are responsible for 200,000 injuries each year!
In today’s post, you’ll learn just how damaging flip-flops can be, and why. You’ll also find out how to choose footwear to prevent falls and painful foot problems.
Health Risks Associated With Flip-Flops
While it’s not a problem to wear flip-flops for brief periods – such as walking to the beach, showering in a locker room, or washing the car – wearing flip-flops as your primary footwear can post serious health risks.
Take a look at some of the problems associated with wearing these sandals:
- Plantar fasciitis is a very painful condition where the connective tissue between the heel and toes becomes inflamed. Flip-flops can bring this condition on because they offer no support to the bottom of the foot, and they require unnatural toe-curling to keep them from falling off.
- Toe-stubbing is a common risk of flip-flops that can be very painful and even cause broken or sprained toes. Wearing flip-flops on rough terrain creates a significant risk for stubbing.
- Broken, torn toenails are also a painful side effect of flip-flops, particularly if they are worn on uneven ground.
- Knee, hip, and ankle problems can result from improper foot support, including shin splints and knee, hip, and ankle pain. Flip-flops are too thin to absorb impact, so your joints get stressed.
- Foot fractures are more likely if you wear flip-flops frequently and engage in active motion (such as playing football, running, etc.). Flip-flops offer almost no shock absorption.
- Arch pain is a problem doctors see often during the summer. The thin, flat soles of flip-flops don’t support the arch.
- Sprained ankles are more likely to occur if you wear flip-flops for sports or similar activities.
- Poor posture is an important concern for those with osteoporosis, and flip-flops exacerbate poor posture by causing back problems.
- Falls can happen if the flip-flop gets caught on a bump in the sidewalk, in an escalator, or because you have to compromise your gait to walk in them.
Why Flip-Flops Cause So Many Injuries
The main problem with flip-flops is the lack of support and their overall flimsy nature. As the name implies, the sandals flip and flop and smack the bottom of the foot, and the wearer has to curl his or her toes downward to keep the flip-flops from being flung off with normal walking. Also, flip-flop wearers hold their ankles at a different angle than those wearing more supportive shoes. Thus, normal foot rotation and gait are thrown off, compromising balance and affecting skeletal alignment.
The whole body is interconnected, a fact recognized in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. This is why the Program aims to nourish the whole body with proper nutrition and regular exercise in order to build bone, and it’s why what’s happening with your feet affects your whole body.
What’s The Best Kind Of Shoe?
As mentioned earlier, It’s fine to wear flip-flops for brief periods, such as by the pool. These days, though, they come in an array of colors with flowers, sequins, and other fashionable decorations. The fancier flip-flops have come to be acceptable office attire, and many people wear plain ones around the house. This sets the stage for frequent – almost constant – flip-flop wearing.
So it’s important to choose healthy shoes that support your feet while giving them freedom to flex and rotate in a normal gait pattern.
How To Choose The Right Footwear
As you’ve probably learned by now, support is key. Look for shoes and sandals with soles that cup the heel and support the arch. The sole should be spongey but firm.
A good, all-purpose shoe for walking, running, and working out is essential. You can find a pair that can cover all these activities if you know what to look for.
Here are some characteristics of healthy shoes or sandals.
- Sandals should have a heel strap so you don’t have to curl your toes to hold them on. A good sandal will also have enough straps across the top to keep the sandal on without you having to compromise your foot motion.
- Wiggle room for your toes is important. A good shoe will give your foot room to expand and rotate. However, the shoe should fit snugly enough that it does not slide back and forth.
- Your heels should not slide up and down, either.
- Get your feet measured rather than relying on the same shoe size you’ve always worn. Feet change shape and size depending on your age and circumstances, so to find the perfect fit, measure your feet once a year.
- A good shoe will feel comfortable right away. If there is pressure or friction anywhere on your foot when you first try on the shoe, it will usually only get worse with wear.
- Shock absorption is important for aerobic or running shoes, and also for regular walking. Look for firm but flexible shoes that feel comfortably snug but not tight.
- Try on both shoes. Your feet may have subtle differences in size and shape, and a shoe that feels good on one foot may not feel good on the other.
The right shoe will not compromise your balance or stress your joints. This is important if you regularly engage in weight-bearing exercise to build bone density. While bearing weight is vital for building strong bones, repetitive hard impact can stress joints and cause pain.
That’s why the exercises in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System are low-impact and easy on your joints, but they still build bone. The exercises in Densercise are based on Wolff’s law, which states the proven fact that bone responds to gravity and muscle action by increasing strength and density.
When you wear the right shoes while “Densercising,” you’ll minimize joint impact while strengthening muscles and building strong bone that resists fracture.
Please click here to learn more about the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System.
Till next time,