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,
Comments on this article are closed.
Thanks for all your good information. My son in N.Y. bought me your recipe book, & I would just like to know, if you eat dark chocolate, which I know is an acid, do you have to eat an alkaline product as well at the same time, or can you have it later?
Good Morning Vivian,
Thank You Very Much For The Very Helpful Article, And Your Very Good Advice.
It Really Is Important That You Buy The Proper Shoes. Ones That Stay Comfortable All Day. Because You Are On You Feet A Lot During The Day. At Least I Am. I Do Volunteer Work At A Senior Home And Health And Aging Center. And I Do A Lot Of Walking There With Some Of The Residents, And The People That Come To The Adult Daycare Program There.
I Too Like Shirley Gekler Never Wore Flip-Flops. I’ve Never Liked Them.
I To Like Too Get Shoes That Give Your Feet Support And That Are Comfortable The Minute You Try Them On, Or At Least Try To Most Of The Time.
Thank You Again. Got To Go Now. Take Good Care Of Yourself, And Stay Well.
LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)
Hi .I have scoliosis artritis spongilitis and osteoporosis .please help me I caNnot afford the book if u would be king enough to tell me in simple what to eat daily to build my bones and what to drink
Hi I am 54 yrs old female I live in south africa I have scoliosis artritis osteoporosis please help me build my bones I cannot afford the book ,would be grateful if u could tel me in simply what to eat daily to build my bones to reverse osteoporosis as quick as possible. Thank you Mrs shireen mahomed
I love Merrell’s, too! I can keep them on all day, but other shoes I can only wear a few hours. I wonder if they are ‘okay’, though . . . as they don’t have any heel straps. ???
Vivian, are you familiar with Merrell shoes? Are they ‘okay’ in your opinion?
Thanks so much for this very interesting article. Frankly, flip flops have not been an issue of mine, as I have always purchased quality supportive shoes, even very few sandles along the way — After all our feet support our bodies with every step we take.
This is an excellent reminder to all of us.
Thank you very much. Have a wonderful day and take
care always. Marlene
I purchased Dr. Scholls flip flops and they have support in all the right places and are very comfortable. More expensive though.
Two days ago while busy in the garden I sprained my ankle. My husband said it’s because I had flip flop. I said no impossible because I have been wearing them since I was a child. But now that I am 58 I should watch out what I am wearing on my feet, as I was also diagnosed with osteoporosis. So thank you for the advice. It came justly in time. And I am a great follower of all that is going on in save our bones. Thanks for all the interesting information you have been sending us all. Very much appreciated.
Ava Perigault Monte- Newton
Great advice!!! I actually don’t like flip flops. I do have to find a good pair of shoes to wear while I’m at home.
Excellent topic as my sister in NYC walking the streets hurt her foot, tripped and caused pain & money to see the foot Doctor! Shoes are so important! I love “Merrell’s.
Thanks Vivian. See was wearing flip flops!
I wear mules with heavy cork soles. They are very comfortable. Would they fall in the same category? The cork absorbs impact. But I’m not sure about the toe curling, and lack of heel covering.
In Iraq, my country of origin, we used (people still do) call the flip-flops ‘abul-isbi”, that is ‘the finger-type one’! Obviously, this is because it is held in place by the big toe and the next toe, something which gives another function: keep the big toe busy playing with it, turning it, while the foot is raised in space – that is when you have nothing to do, or sitting with a boring person! This feature of having the support in between these two toes sometimes causes a wound there especially if the rubber was sharp and/or the skin sensitive. Nonetheless, people in hot climate will continue to use it, partly because of its ‘summery’ style and partly because it is light, easily stored and obviously cheap. BUT KEEP VIVIAN’S ADVICE IN MIND!
Vivian I am so very grateful for your site. I just got the results of my bone density scan and it is not good . Cannot take the pills they ruined my insides during the 3 year research , googled The injection he wants me to take at $400. Every 6 months .NO WAY.
I printed the results for him so he would realize the dangers and how to use a different therapy. I don’ eyed rotten jaw or any of the other problems.
As for Gratitude yes , here is a book title that helped me Extensively during a Horriblely debilitating session recently in my life with an Ex and Lawyers. It called. “. You can be HAPPY no matter what by ,” “Richard Carlson , PhD . Before bed sleep I write in my journal my gratitude , then read a bit more of this book , at 74 years I wish I had this book when I was younger but am grateful I have it now . It has helped me understand what “Living in the Moment “really means.
Thank you again