A while ago I wrote this article on flip flops and why they were bad for you, and I thought it was time to revisit the topic, since it’s summer and beach season once more.
Every year I see more and more people wearing flip flops. And most of these people have either low back pain, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain or foot pain. Flip-flops alter the way that you walk, making it more difficult to walk for long periods. True, they are very comfortable, almost as comfortable as being in bare feet. But they are not equal to being in bare feet. I feel that you would be better off in bare feet or wearing barefoot running shoes. At least then, you would not be impeding the way that you walk.
Flip flops have no support, and they alter the way that you walk because they cause you to grip with your toes. This gripping causes you to walk differently; overusing small balancing muscles that affect your feet, ankles, calves, knees, hips and even low back. Walking differently like this, especially if for long periods, can cause you to sprain an ankle, get plantar fascitis, twist or sprain knee ligaments, get stabbing hip pain, throw out our low back, among other ailments.
I remember working on someone who did a 3 mile hike in the mountains of Turkey while wearing flip flops. He was in moderate shape, he played soccer at least once a week. While doing the hike in Turkey he sprained his ankle. Now this man was used to running around a soccer field, chasing a soccer ball for an hour at a time. He was used to being on his feet. The problem was wearing the flip flops, and the alterations and compensations,that they caused.
Flip flops are meant to be worn for about twenty minutes while you are lounging around the pool. Do not spend more than twenty minutes in them. If you do they will either exacerbate/ flair up certain conditions or injuries, or cause certain conditions or injuries. These conditions include but are not limited to: plantar fascitis, sprained or twisted ankles, strained calf muscles, strained knee ligaments, pulled groin muscles, IT Band syndrome, hip pain, low back pain, even upper back and neck pain.
If you walk, walk intelligently, walk the pain free way. Avoid wearing flip flops for long periods and you’ll have a pain free summer.