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Foot Pain and Flip Flops

With summer approaching we hide away our winter shoes and reach for light and breezy flip flops and sandals. These days the humble flip flop is considered a must in most peoples wardrobe, and come in many colours, styles and on occasion with built in bottle openers! But are they really as comfortable as they seem?

In the past, stilettos and strappy shoes have been the obvious culprits when it came to foot pain but research has shown that this may not be the case. The truth is our trusty favourite could be a leading cause of injuries to our feet, ankles, knees, hips and back and over time these injuries could escalate into serious bone, tendon and joint damage.

A recent study has found that flip flop wearers tend to grip the footwear with their toes, leading to shorter stride length and improper force when their feet hit the ground. But what does this mean?

Basically a powerful force is transferred up our legs, placing additional stress on our lower body. Unfortunately our bodies are not designed for that type of stress.

The spongy nature and lack of arch support found in many flip flops, can cause the feet to roll inward, causing pain and injury to the arch as well as plantar fasciitis and if you are not already flat footed, you can actually develop this symptom by wearing poorly made flip flops. Of course there are the more obvious hazards of wearing open or uncovered footwear. When driving, flip flops can impair a drivers control, especially if they fall off and become lodged underneath the brake or accelerator pedal. Other common injuries include stubbed toes, cuts, bruises, and insect bites. Not to mention dirty feet!!

Many people believe wearing them is a way to give their feet a break, but because they lack support, a tight fit and generally have a poor tread, slips, falls and sprained ankles are much more common.

So what are the tips to picking healthy summer footwear?

  • Do not be fooled by the cheapest option, always be sure to look for proper materials in your footwear. Do not buy cheap foam material that is too flimsy and lacks a solid form. A good general rule is to try to bend the sole along its length. It should bend only slightly and if it can almost touch the heel to the toe, you are definitely looking at the wrong material.
  • Do not make the most common mistake by going for the flat soled option. Instead try to choose sandals and flip flops with significant support, as well as an indented heel cup to hold the heel in place.
  • Pay careful attention to straps, as well. Consider leather or soft materials to reduce irritation and blisters. Avoid plastic or cotton straps, or any that are too thin and can cut into the skin

In addition, consider overall quality. Keep in mind that you may need to spend as much on a quality pair of sandals or flip flops, as you would on a nice pair of trainers.

Do not Forget!!!

Try to wear your sandals or flip flops in moderation. Avoid wearing them during all-day events, athletic activities and especially during those days working in the garden. These activities are best performed in trainers.

Also remember that your exposed feet need sunscreen. Otherwise, you could end up with sunburned tootsies which is not only bad for your skin, but is also a disastrous fashion statement, too!

Follow these handy tips and your feet will enjoy the spring and summer months as much as you do.


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