If you’ve visited our office this summer, chances are you’ve heard Dr. Munn ask if you’ve been wearing flip-flops more often. While flip-flops can be a quick option when you’re running to the beach or outside to the garden, living in them all summer can lead to problems.
Shoes are designed to offer stability and shock absorption, and unfortunately your trusty flip-flops provide neither. The flat, thin soles offer no protection or support – and they’re even worse if they’re the worn-in pair you just can’t seem to part with.
They also make you walk differently. In order to keep the shoe on your feet as you walk, your toes have to grip the shoe, thus putting unnecessary strain on muscles in the foot. This can cause overuse injuries, tendonitis, and could even lead to stress fractures. Flip-flops also make you take shorter steps than you normally would when wearing shoes, changing your walking pattern and putting less force into your heel strike. This causes the middle of the foot to take in most of the force with walking, which isn’t how your foot is designed to walk, and the reason you often hear the smacking or shuffling of people walking in these shoes.
And flip-flops don’t just cause problems in the feet. All the changes to your gait can cause pain and issues in your ankles, knees, hips, and back. It’s a chain reaction that can really impact your summer plans.
If you just can’t live without flip-flops, protect your feet by only wearing them for short periods and quick trips, and choosing a more supportive shoe or sandal when you know you’ll be doing a lot of walking. And if you have noticed some aches and pains developing from flip-flop wearing, let your chiropractor know.