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Flip-Flops, is the Convenience Worth the Pain?

Flip-flops are a quick and easy solution when you’re running out the door or want something comfortable to wear. They’re easy to put on and take off and appealing to wear when the weather is warm because they let your feet stay cool. Unfortunately, flip-flops give no foot and ankle support, have minimal cushioning and make it easier to trip and fall. They also cause you to walk differently than you would walk if you were wearing a regular shoe.

What happens to you when you wear flip-flops?

When you’re wearing flip-flops, you have to pinch or curl your toes, so they stay on while you are walking. You’re also shortening your stride because of this, putting strain on your feet, hips, and lower back muscles. When you walk in flip-flops, your feet contact the ground differently. More pressure is put on the outside edges and less pressure is put on the heel. When this happens, it causes a slight rotation of the lower portion of the leg, changing the angle of your pelvis, which prompts increased torsion of the lower spine. These changes can cause stiffness and pain in the lumbar region that can worsen over time.

Do you have to give up flip-flops?

They still have legitimate uses. Flip-flops are good for public locker rooms and showers. They’re good for a quick walk to the backyard or the beach. Since they lack arch support and are thin with floppy rubber soles, they aren’t made for leisurely long walks or any kind of quick movement. They aren’t great for continuous use while shopping, or for going anywhere where you will be on your feet for a long time.

Listen to your body.

Your body will let you know when something is wrong. Experiencing back pain while wearing flip-flops means you should stop what you are doing, ice the area, and change into shoes with better support. Ignoring the pain and letting it linger means your body is going to compensate for the area that is in pain by putting the strain on other muscles and joints. This can cause further injury. You’re more likely to experience a fall that can be dangerous because of the impact your altered gait, making your stability suffer. When wearing flip-flops, it’s best to avoid running, jumping, and quick movements to the side because there is a greater risk of falls and there is a lack of support and shock absorption.

Alternatives.

Sports sandals can help offer good alternatives, so you still have comfortable shoes that also offer support. They mimic sneakers in the way they hug your feet and offer arch supports and heel cups, thereby providing greater stability.

Do your research to help you find the right alternatives for you. Pay attention to how stable you are when you are standing and walking when you’re trying on shoes. You want to make sure you can maintain your normal stride in the shoe, and that the sole of your foot stays connected to the sole of the shoe.

If you’re in need of a consultation for your back pain, give Cross Valley Chiropractic a call at 570-822-4848.