So are they good or bad for your feet and back?
Well, in short, they have their place, but are not the ideal ‘full time’ choice of footwear.
Flip Flops: What to be aware of…
There is no doubt about it, when the sun is shining, one of the first things we do is grab for our flip flops. They’re comfortable, they keep your feet cool and they are quick to put on! BUT, your average flip flop offers little in the way of foot and ankle support. It provides very little support and minimal cushioning and, most of us must know they make trips and falls a more likely occurrence.
Did you know that when you wear flip flops, you naturally take shorter steps? This can put unusual strain on your feet, hips and lower back muscles.
Did you know your feet strike the ground differently too? More pressure is put on the outside edges of the foot and (and less on the heel as you would in normal supported shoes). The result? A slight rotation of the lower portion of your leg, which changes the angle of your pelvis and prompts increased torsion of the lower spine. Which in turn can result in stiffness and pain in the lumbar region, which may worsen over time.
So, with this in mind, here are some tips to keep in mind next time you reach for your flip flops!
Give your flip-flops a breather
But they’re lack of arch support makes them inadequate for long walks, runs or anything like that. When you know you’re going to be out for long periods of the day, make sure you choose the appropriate footwear. We know Flip-flops have their uses, but keep them for the changing room showers or a quick walk to the beach or in garden (not gardening though! read about keeping your back and feet safe in the garden here in our recent blog and top tips).
Listen to your body
As soon as you begin to feel back pain whilst wearing your flip-flops, you should immediately stop what you are doing and apply some ice to the area and more importantly, changed to more adequate footwear. The longer you stay in your flip-flops whilst experiencing pain, your body is constantly compensating for the affected area by putting strain on other muscles and joints therefore increasing the risk of injury. Also, remember to ‘go slow’ when in flip flops, the lack of support they offer is almost non existent so avoid running, jumping or any quick sideways movements.
There are alternatives
There is now a massive variety of ‘sports sandals’ and hybrids currently on the market that offer good alternatives to your standard flip-flop. These sandals are a lot like trainers in the way they comfortably hug your feet. This will provide greater stability and will help properly align your feet, hips and lower back. We recommend trying on a few different pairs to find the ones that fit properly, feel stable and you can maintain a normal stride whilst wearing them.
We hope you have a happy and safe summer, and remember if you do don your flip flops, just remember not to wear them all day every day! (OH and don’t wear them with socks!!)
If you feel you have unresolved back, neck, shoulder or leg pain, book yourself in for a consolation with one of our friendly Chiropractors at Torbay Chiropractic Clinic on 01803 329799