When the warmer weather arrives, it’s tempting to dig our flip-flops out of the closet and wear them every chance we get. But Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center warn that while they may be comfortable, flip-flops are bad for your posture and your feet. In today’s post, they’re sharing why.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), flip-flops provide no heel cushioning, shock absorption, or arch support. Because of those reasons, wearing them too much can lead to overuse of muscles and tendons, not only in your feet but also in your ankles, knees, back, and hips.
Studies show that people alter their gait when they walk in flip-flops. They also take shorter steps, probably because they must use their toes to grip the flip-flops and their heels hit the ground more forcefully due to a lack of cushioning.
That can cause a variety of problems to develop, including:
- Bunions (bumps at the big toe joint).
- Hammertoe (the knuckles of your toes are bent).
- Repetitive strain injury or shin splints.
- Metatarsalgia (inflammation of the ball of the foot).
Flip-flops also don’t offer arch support, which helps keep your heels, back, and knees in alignment. Without proper support, your joints try to overcompensate, leading to overuse, and injuries from Achilles tendonitis to pinched nerves in the back and heel pain.
Because the bottoms of flip-flops are flat, they don’t turn the way your bare foot does when you’re walking, which affects your posture. And because they are open shoes, flip-flops put you at greater risk for broken or stubbed toes, puncture wounds, or glass cuts.
If you refuse to stop wearing your flip-flops, buy a new pair once a year, at the least, so you’re not wearing a pair that’s past its peak. Even better, wear sandals. Because they have straps that cross your foot and a stiffer sole, it will spread the pressure on your foot more evenly.
If you think wearing flip-flops might be causing pains and aches, contact the offices of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center for diagnosis and treatment. Click here to locate the office nearest you and schedule an appointment today.