We love our flip flops, they are easy to get on, inexpensive, and come in lots of colors and styles. They are no longer just for the beach, backyard or locker room.
I was however, a little appalled when I saw the Northwestern University Women’s Lacrosse Team meet the President at the White House in their flip flops in 2005. I am old enough not to think of flip flops for dressy occasions. However, the trend of wearing flip flops anywhere does not look like it is going to change anytime soon but you may want to rethink how often you wear them when you consider what they are doing to your feet, ankles, and posture .
Podiatrists have a love hate relationship with flip flops. They love all the new business they bring in and they hate the injuries that are happening to people’s feet. Over 55,000 people each year end up in the hospital from injuries relating to their flip flops. And that is not counting those injured that just went to their doctor or a foot specialist.
Unlike high heels flip flops are equal opportunists they can harm both men and women.
Flip Flop Fashion Drawbacks:
We are crunching up our toes when we walk in order to keep our feet attached to our flip flops. This stretches the connective tissue that runs from the heel to the toe which can lead to inflammation and plantar fasciitis.
When your flip flop becomes wet it is very easy for your foot to slip off of the shoe surface and you can easily twist or break your ankle.
We take shorter steps when we wear our flip flops- the flip flop shuffle. And anytime you change the way you walk you throw other parts of your body out of alignment.
Flip flops are not well cushioned. There is just not much between that rock on the sidewalk and the bottom of your foot and your whole body is absorbing all force between your weight and the ground. That shock travels all the way to your head.
It is easy to get your flip flop lodged under the gas pedal or brake pedal when you drive. (This has actually happened to me). If this happens you may be in a car accident.
Flip flops offer no protection for the top of your foot. Drop something on your foot and you are looking at smashed and broken toes. If you are walking in crowds expect to take some injury from getting your feet stepped on.
The American College of Sports Medicine states that walking in flip flops can be a cause of aches and pains all over the body. Problems seem to spread from the ankle to the knee, from the knee to the hip, from your hip to your back.
Based on this information what should we do? Do not make flip flops everyday footwear! Instead choose to wear flip flops for a short amount of time when you know conditions will be safe; your backyard, around the neighborhood pool etc. It is also a good idea to invest in a sandal that has a heel strap, has arch support, heel support, and doesn’t change the way you normally walk.