01 Sep So you wear thongs? I am talking about Flip Flops!
We are a nation of flip flop fanatics! When summer arrives, everywhere we look, people are busting out there favourite pair of flip flops or sandals. Who doesn’t love slipping on a pair, there easy to put on, comfortable and come in many styles and colours, all in all there perfect for the summer time. But watch your step! Does care free comfort come at a price? Flip flops are a hard habit to break. We often hear publicised that flip flops can cause major stress to your body, pain to your joints and long term injury to your feet. For the medically fit and injury free population, you don’t have to say goodbye to your favourite summer time item just yet.
Don’t paint all flip flops with the same brush. Not all flip flops are made the same way, there are literally hundreds of different styles and designs to choose from. Take a good look at your flop-flops, some are made out of virtually nothing whilst others are very bulky. A common brand like Havana is essentially a flat piece of rubber whilst a Birkenstock has a dense contoured cork sole. The amount of material that the sole is made out of can vary considerably amongst brands. Some people refer to this as the level of support in a shoe. The amount of this support people actually need can vary considerably from person to person. The very thin soles are often blamed for more serious pain and injury in the body unfairly. A well-conditioned active person may be suited just fine to this type whilst a heavier, sedentary individual may need something entirely different. We are all unique and often our footwear choices need to suit our individual needs. There is no one size fits all approach.
It’s no secret the traditional flimsy flip flops are associated with walking alterations that can contribute to problems. Researchers from Auburn University found flip-flops change the way wearers walk. This is largely down to the design of the fixation that attaches the sandal to the foot. When it is not secure this is where problems can arise. Next time you’re walking in your thongs try and feel what your foot is doing. Every time you lift your foot off the ground you may grip them with your toes in order to keep them on. This creates a change in the bodys mechanics and can cause imbalances in the body that can contribute to long term issues. A flip flop with optimal fixation so that body’s mechanics can function as normally as possible is a crucial feature to look for.
In recent years a new generation of functional / comfort flips flops and sandals have emerged. These offer many features as comfort and functional footwear. Material choices, contoured footbeds, increased heel height and thicker outsoles which can benefit a large number of people.
In today’s society we live in a relatively safe environment where the risks from harmful trauma is minimised, unfortunately there a still chances of stubbing your toe, rolling your ankle or stepping on glass. What you are actually doing whilst wearing your flip flops is of vital importance, wearing them for too long or for the wrong activity can increase your chances of pain and injury. You don’t get injured or stress your body without moving and your footwear selection should always attempt to suit the type of activity you are doing. We have all once experienced the agony at the end of the day from walking around all day in flip flop. If you plan to be on your feet all day, doing specific activities or for long walking, attempt to use a more functional shoe or sandal. Save your flimsy flip flops for walking on the beach or relaxing around home.
We often like to blame what we put on our feet for problems that occur but sometimes it isn’t the shoe at all but the rapid change of footwear that causes the issue. When the weather starts to turn warmer, ease into your summer time shoes slow and steadily to minimise this issue.
Not all Flip Flops are the same! Look for optimal characteristics that will be better for your feet in the long term. If you already have pain and injury in your lower limb; foot ankle or knee, flip flops may be contributing to your pain as well as inhibiting your body from recovering and as such may need to be avoided for some time or forever depending upon the injury. Flip flops are not for everybody and recommendations on whether they should be worn are a case by case scenario. If you are unsure, have pain or a medical condition like diabetes It is always best to seek professional advice from an experienced podiatrist.
We take footwear seriously and have put together 3 of the best sandals on the market to assist our Gold Coast community.