Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What's Wrong With Flip Flops?

We know you are very happy to put away those heavy winter boots and closed toe shoes and let your feet be free. However, running out and restocking your favorite cheap pair of flip flops in every color is not something we would advise. Wearing well structured flip flops is not bad for you, but prolonged wear can be harmful. Research done by Justin Shroyer, PhD of University of Louisiana-Lafayette has shown that wearing flip flops changes a person's gait or walking pattern. As they walk, flip flop wearers try to grip and hold flip flops in place. Over time, this maneuver causes strain in the shin muscles and can lead to pain in the lower leg, knees, hip, and back. Following these easy tips can help you make better decisions about when and when not to wear flip flops.
1. Know your feet.
Remember when you were young and your mother may have asked you "If your friends asked you to jump off a bridge, would you do it too?" Well, just because everyone else is wearing flip flops does not mean you should too (or can). If you have high or flat arched feet, wearing flip flops is risky. The same goes for people with diabetes, as the open structure of flip flops provides the opportunity for more cuts, scrapes, and contusions.
2. Invest in quality.
We know it's tempting to run to your favorite department store and buy those cheap flip flops in every color, but they provide absolutely no support for your foot. You might as well be walking barefoot. We recommend wearing these type of flip flops only to the beach and instead looking for ones with more structure, support, and wider straps for prolonged use. You should look for ones that cup your heel and have arch support. For a list of American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance flip flops, visit: apma.org.
3. Limit flip flop use to just a few hours. 
Even if you are wearing top of the line, best quality flip flops know those shoes are not meant or designed for all day, every day use. Flip flops should not be your primary shoe in the warmer months.
The APMA produced a great video last summer on avoiding a flip flop fiasco:
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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