Even though flip flops are go-to footwear for many casual outings, these trusty open-toed soles might end up doing more harm to your feet than you realize. While these summer shoe staples can be quite stylish and convenient to slip on, it’s important to wear them sparingly. If worn too frequently or for too long a period, your favorite flip flops can lead to severe foot pain.
ANKLE, BACK, and HIP PAIN
Flip flops aren’t securely attached to your feet since they don’t have any back straps or side support, which will make you change the way you walk. You may not even notice when it happens. You might start taking shorter steps to keep the soles on your feet. Eventually, you’ll start dragging your feet and hitting your heels to the ground with less vertical force than if you were walking normally.
These movements can throw off your natural balance and trigger pain in the ankles, knees, hips, and back while leading to severe foot problems. These are three of the top reasons to avoid flip flops altogether or at least limit the time you wear them.
The soles on most flip flops are flat and flimsy, with little support for your natural arch. Their flat design, combined with the lack of back or side support, also makes them prone to slipping off your feet at the slightest misstep. As you walk, the muscles in your feet and toes begin to work overtime to keep those flimsy flip flops from falling off.
Those overused foot muscles can eventually lead to painful plantar fasciitis or heel pain because your heel may become tender or swollen from wearing shoes with poor support or shock absorption. Think about it. It’s your heel that absorbs the shock of your foot striking the ground as you put your foot down to walk, and it is your heel that springs you back for your next step. Plantar fasciitis injuries can cause severe foot and heel pain, especially when walking or running or even when wearing those flip flops.
The final reason to skip flip flops this summer occurs with constant flip flop wear which can lead to an overuse injury like tendinitis. Tendinitis occurs when some parts of the foot are working overtime to compensate for the lack of support, causing the tendons and muscles in the foot to become strained and irritated.
Tendinitis often occurs in the tendons around the ankle, top of the foot, and in the calf. It is typically felt during movement and can be especially painful when walking or running. If left untreated, it can also eventually lead to muscle tears that will exacerbate the pain in your feet.
BETTER CHOICE FLIP FLOPSIf you’re ready to ditch those old sandals and find something more comfortable, here are a few tips to help you pick out your next pair of summer slip-ons.
The Right Shoe Size: Make sure you find a pair that fits properly. Your toes and heels should be fully on the sole, leaving nothing to hang off.
Durable Material: The shoe should only bend at the ball of the foot. Bending right down the middle means the shoes are too flimsy. Opt for shoes made of durable materials like leather or thick rubber. These materials are both more comfortable and durable than flip flops with thin plastic soles.
More Straps for Better Support: It’s best to look for shoes with a back strap or multiple straps to keep your foot nice and snug while taking the pressure off your toes.
We also came across a great post from Miguel Cunha, DPM, board-certified podiatric surgeon and founder of Gotham Footcare who shares his The Best Flip Flops with Arch Support along with some reasons why.
FAST FOOT PAIN RELIEF
Foot pain is a very common ailment that many healthcare providers treat and there is a variety of at-home foot care options you can consider or add to your daily healthy living routine. There are also many benefits to a foot care program.
To help strengthen and stretch the tendons in the foot you can leverage foot alignment socks. These socks can be worn while you rest with your feet up in the evening or even worn while you sleep at night. Foot alignment socks can be an easy fast foot pain relief option to consider.
There are a wide variety of foot exercises to consider for general foot pain or specific foot problems. Our team put together a list of the Top 10 Foot Exercises that help with a variety of foot problems in a recent blog.
If your pain is severe you should have your healthcare provider conduct a thorough injury assessment to help diagnose the underlying cause of your foot pain, provide hands-on treatment, and create customized rehab exercises to strengthen your feet and keep you moving. If you find yourself with aching feet, consider a pair of foot alignment socks along with a few foot exercises to get back to doing the things you love most.
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