Wearing the wrong flip flop can take a toll on your feet by stressing and straining the muscles and ligaments not only in your foot but the entire body. A flip flop does a lot more than just give your feet mere protection during walking, along with a good grip at your toes. Wearing flip flops may make you feel comfortable and relaxed. It definitely gives your feet the much needed TLC after a tiring day in your boots or closed toe shoes. But have you ever wondered if you are picking up the right flip flop for your feet?
This summer staple might be a real health flop. Aside from the obvious lack of protection (meaning you’re more vulnerable to dropped objects, stubbed toes, etc), your favorite pair could be seriously damaging your feet. Wearing a wrong pair of flip flops can lead to a variety of foot problems. These include but are not limited to heel pain, hammertoes, ankle pain, back and hip pain, falls, and bacteria. A wrong pair of flip flops could mean inadequate support to the feet for a prolonged period, which could strain the ligaments of the arch and heel. This is a prime cause of pain in the heel and arch region of the foot. This condition in medical terms is referred to as ‘plantar fasciitis’ which requires treatment if it gets worse with time. If your flip flop isn’t supporting your foot well and you need to strain your toes to hold on to your pair while walking, then chances are you are putting a lot of strain on the muscles of your feet. Lack of support causes the feet and legs to overcompensate. With the toes contracted to keep the grip on the flip-flop intact, it makes the muscles in the feet work overtime. The impact is so severe that it leads to hammertoes, a foot deformity where the second, third or fourth toe is bent at the joint, resembling a hammer. Lack of counter support in a flip flop causes your ankle to roll over on its side. This could be a potential threat of ligament tear, ankle sprain, or tendonitis which is common with flip flops. Furthermore, your flip flop could be a reason behind your knee, hip or back ache. If you are wearing an ill-fitted flip flop, one which is too tight or too loose, it is bound to provide minimal or no support at the arch and heel, leading to an unstable gait, causing bad alignment, straining your knees and lower back.
Not all flip flops are the same. There are a few things to look for when picking out your next pair of summer slip-ons to help avoid some of the troubling problems that come with wearing them. Make sure you find a pair that fits properly. Your toes and heels should be fully on the sole, nothing hanging off. The correct bend in the flip flop is also important; the shoe should only bend at the ball of the foot therefore bending right down the middle means a flimsy shoe. Proper support is also very important. A thicker sole with a little bump in the middle creates more arch support than a thin flat shoe.
Because you are carrying your foot differently than you do in a more supportive shoe, you actually change the entire way you walk. People wearing flip flops take shorter steps and hit their heels to the ground with less vertical force which can throw off your natural gait and trigger pain and problems throughout the body. It is crucial with the summer months coming to make sure you choose the right flip flop for your foot. As many outdoor enthusiasts know, summer can cause some extra wear and tear on the body, but many of us forget to look after two of the most important and neglected parts of the body-the feet.
If you are experiencing pain after wearing your flip-flops and you would like treatment, or more education on preventing injuries call our office in Howell, New Jersey to make an appointment. We also carry flip flops that are supportive and comfortable for those summer beach days.