BEWARE OF THE FLIP FLOP!
With the British summer just around the corner… overcast, rainy showers and intermittent sunshine, you are more than likely going to be digging out your summer wears in the near future! Before you get carried away though, you might want to consider the risk your flip flops may have to your health!
In the summer months here at Bradley Physio we have noticed a pattern every year – we are seeing an increase in the number of patients that come in to the clinic complaining of foot, ankle and leg pain around the summertime, noticeably more in women than men. In many of the people with knee, hip & back problems that come to see us, we also find that a sudden increase in wearing flip flops for long periods of time has played a part in their problem. We are starting to call it ‘Flip Flop Season’.
The main issue seems to be the lack of support flip-flops provide. With just a flimsy piece of foam, plastic or other material separating your foot from the ground, it’s easy to see that flip flops offer zero foot support and cushioning. This means that your heel-strike impact is much more intense than it would be in supportive shoes and you rely on your toes to grip with every step when you wear flip flops to keep them on. This in turn can lead to heel pain and other conditions like Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis (pain in the bottom of your foot), and stress fractures.
As you can see from the photo, without support the ankles and knees are put under a lot of strain. With a supportive insole the ankle and knee alignment is much improved relieving strain on structures such as the achilles tendon and kneecap.flip flops can also affect your posture and biomechanics which can cause you to take shorter strides, turn your ankles and knees inward and you lose the support in your arch… leading to problems from your feet all the way up to your back such as lower back and knee pain! And although they may be comfortable and not as sweaty, flip flops can also result in clumsy walking that easily leads to trips and falls that can cause sprained ankles, broken toes and painful scuffs!
- STOP WEARING FLIP FLOPS
- SUPPORT – Footwear should always have good arch support and cushioning at the heel.
- MOBILISE – the muscle and connective tissue around your calf and underneath your foot commonly gets tight and restricted; freeing up this tissue with exercise can help to alleviate symptoms.
- PAY US A VISIT- If you are still struggling give us a shout and pay us a visit. We can carry out a full assessment and provide you with a full diagnosis and a plan to fix the problem.
So, if you’re going on holiday, a long walk or on your feet all day, ditch the flip flops and wear something more supportive. If you have noticed you are suddenly getting pain in your foot, ankle or any other part of your leg or back and have been wearing flip flops more now the sun has made an appearance, try reducing how much you wear them and see if it makes a difference. If not book an appointment at Bradley Physio… The sooner you get it treated the quicker it is resolved.
By Helen Butterworth & Adam Recsetar