It won’t be long now—and for some, the time has already come—to enjoy the warmer temperatures and finally switch footwear over to less restrictive options. In most cases this means sandals, flip-flops and other similar types of open-air footwear.
While flip-flops are certainly a comfortable choice that allow your feet breath and be exposed to the warm spring and summer air, the truth is that this comfort also comes at a cost. Occasional use of flip-flops—to the beach, for a brief walk, around the yard—doesn’t pose any real dangers, but constantly wearing them day in, day out may cause some unexpected damage, and you can wind up with a number of injuries.
The issue is that most flip-flops aren’t designed like shoes, and they lack any real arch support, heel cushioning and shock absorption to help protect your feet. Also, while using flip-flops, most people tend to grip their toes at the “thong” to hold it in place, which strains the muscles in the foot and causes you to change the way you walk.
Over time, this change in gait will lead you to start using muscles and joints in an unusual way, and this process can result in problems in the foot and through to the lower back. One of the most commonly treated injuries that can result from flip-flops is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the connective tissue along the bottom of the foot. Other injuries include shin splints, metatarsalgia, Achilles tendinitis, calf strains, hip pain and lower back pain.
This doesn’t mean you need to stop wearing flip-flops all the time, but rather that you should be smart about which ones you wear and do so in moderation.
Health Plus Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Center, Edison, NJ recommends these flip-flop tips:
- Sport sandals offer more support for your arch than flip-flops and a heel strap alleviates pressure in the front of your foot; for a list of sandals approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association, click here
- If you decide to still wear flip-flops, choose a pair made of firm materials with stiff soles; leather is a better choice over plastic
- Make sure your flip-flops fit properly and be sure to replace any old or worn-out pair with a newer, more supportive pair
- Only wear flip-flops for short periods of time and don’t use them for long hikes or any other instances where you’ll be walking for a while
- Avoid running or jumping in flip-flops, which can lead to further injuries
- If you experience any pain, don’t ignore it; apply ice to the painful area and try switching to a more supportive pair of flip-flops
Don’t let the temptation of wearing flip-flops at all times be the source of an injury. Visit Health Plus Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Center in Edison, Edison, NJ for more guidance on footwear selection or if you’ve been experiencing any pain in your feet or elsewhere. Call 732-494-5999 for more information or to schedule an appointment.