Of all the shoe gear choices, flip flops have to be the worst! Now, you may disagree, and that is your right. But, consider the experience of a foot doctor who sees patients in pain, day in and day out. Flip flops are the reason many people are in pain and it all starts in the next few months! Shoe gear choice will drive the foot pain of many adults in the next 4-6 months. A distant cousin of the leather bottomed sandal, this half-inch thick piece of foam causes such problems as Achilles tendinitis, metatarsalgia, broken toes, and metatarsal stress fractures, to name a few.
Achilles Tendinitis due to flip flops?
Most shoes have a heel to them, even men’s shoes, it’s not just the ladies and their high heels or pumps! The degree of the heel height varies, but if you look at a shoe from the side, you will notice that the heel is raised and the height of the shoe tapers as you move towards the toes. When you look at the side profile of a flip flop, you’ll notice there is no heel to toe difference, it is flat!
Whether you’re wearing tennis shoes or dress shoes, there is a greater heel height than with flip-flops. The Achilles tendon is accustomed to the amount of tension that the heel of a shoe provides. When you transition to a flip flop, you’re asking the Achilles tendon to stretch further. If you have aged a few years beyond your teen years, you have probably developed less flexibility at the ankle joint and have a tighter Achilles tendon. With these conditions, the tendon may “microtear” as it adjusts to these forces. These microtears lead to further problems until you have pain!
If it hasn’t happened to you yet, you’re lucky! Whether the fifth toe falls off the side of the flip flop, or the bottom of the flip flop catches on the ground, wearing flip flops puts you at increased risk for a painful couple of weeks.
The beach isn’t always as kind to you as you would like! Many people who head to the beach wearing flip flops find themselves in pain the next day, why is this? If you’re not used to walking much and you head to the beach, you may earn yourself a stress fracture because of the increased walking. This really could happen anywhere and isn’t specific to flip flops, but if you head out to the beach and think it is the safest thing because the sand is soft, don’t be fooled, the flip flop provides no support and if you walk long enough in them when you don’t walk much anyways…
Don’t take this away from me doc, I want to be fashionable!
Allowing your feet to breath and soak up some sun in the spring and summertime seems to be a right of passage once the snow melts and temperatures raise above 45 degrees. We really don’t want to take this away from anyone, and although, not paid to advertise for these companies, here are two options to allow the little piggies get some sun and not kill the Achilles tendon. The Fit Flop™ and Vionic Sandals®