Flip flops and slip-ons are a summer staple in most closets. To be honest, they even seem like a necessity when the humidity and temperatures soar! But did you know that these types of summer sandal choices can wreak havoc on your feet, knees, and low back? In fact, the repetitive use of these shoes can even lead to health problems such as foot cramping, shin splints, knee injuries, plantar fasciitis, bunions, and even bone spurs!! Yikes!
Why Flip Flops Can Cause Lower Body Aches and Pains
Most flip flops and slip-ons simply don’t support the foot enough. Many styles even cause you to change the way you walk just to keep them on! You may not feel the impact of this right away, but go for a walk around the neighborhood and your feet, legs, knees, and even back will likely be screaming at you to stop.
The reason behind this is that flip flops and slip-on sandals cause you to overuse the muscles and ligaments in your feet because they don’t offer proper support. They also cause you to change your normal gait pattern sequences. Think about it. How often do you see someone running or even walking fast in their favorite summer footwear?
Even if you’re not experiencing foot pain, you may still be negatively contributing to your foot and joint health by training muscles to work improperly.
Tips for Better Summer Sandals
When you’re looking for a summer shoe, you want to make sure it stays on your foot without having to use your toes to grip. I recommend strappy sandals, especially ones with a strap around your ankle to keep them tethered on!
Avoid wedges or rockers on your footwear.
Sandals and shoes with rocker bottoms are worse than flip flops because they transfer the weight of your body to the forefoot, which is NOT supposed to bear weight. This can lead to premature arthritis in the foot and cause unsightly bunions and hammertoes.
Some brands are adding more arch support or padding to help reduce pressure on the joints of the feet. While this may be comfortable, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s doing a perfect job. Due to our sedentary lifestyle, the muscles of our feet tire quickly and cause flat feet and arch collapse. The extra padding may only lessen a small portion of that collapse rather than preventing it altogether.
So if you’re still having pain in the feet, legs, or lower back after getting more supportive shoes, you may need MORE help from a custom orthotic.
How to Get Fitted for Custom Orthotics
AlignLife clinics offer free foot screenings and can even provide you with a report showing how much your arch drops, how much extra pressure this puts on your joints, and how much energy your body is wasting muscles for that extra arch drop. Take a look at how custom orthotics are made and the science behind them in this video.