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Enjoy Your Walk on the Beach This Summer

With warm weather and sunny skies, you are likely to go out to purchase a new pair of flip flops to rock on your summer vacation. While your new flip flops may be your favorite, and most comfortable pair of shoes, how much support to they actually provide?

Flip flops can fall into two categories of shoes; Barefoot shoes and Minimalist shoes. Barefoot shoes, are shoes where the soles provide the bare minimum in protection from potential hazards on the ground. Many have no cushion in the heel pad and a very thin layer of shoe between your skin and the ground. Minimalist shoes, feature extremely lightweight construction, and have little to no arch support.

As comfortable and convenient as they may be initially, flip flops have many negative effects making them just not worth the initial comfort. They alter your gait pattern, cause flat feet and heel pain, and are an overall safety hazard. Wearing flip flops too often, and over long periods of time, is damaging to not just your feet, but your ankles, hips, knees and even your back. The discomfort from this damage can leave you unable to enjoy your walk on the beach.

How Do Flip Flops cause these negative effects?

Flip flops do not provide much support to the foot and ankle joint. This can potentially lead to injuries and muscle weakness. In addition, that strap on the flip flop that runs across your toes does little to prevent your foot from moving around.  That means when you wear them, even if you don’t consciously notice it, you have to curl your toes to keep the shoe on which alters your gait pattern.

Does This Mean You Can Never Wear Flip flops?

 We know it’s tough to totally pass on those flips flops in the summer especially if you’re heading to the pool or the beach. So, here are a few tips to help you pick out a pair that’s better for your feet:

  • Fit: make sure your toes and heels are completely inside the flip flop, not hanging over
  • Flexibility: the shoe should NOT bend in half and if so, it does not have enough support
  • Arch: find one with a thicker sole and an arch bump in the middle shaped to your foot
  • Change them once they start to show signs of wear
  • Straps: the wider the straps over the toes, the more stable your foot is

All in all, it would be best to opt for a more supportive shoe such as a tennis shoe for the muscular support in the feet/ankle as well as the protection against environmental dangers. However, if you do chose to wear flip flops, make sure you are choosing a pair that fits appropriately, provides support and stability as well as comfort. 

By: Kate Zanoni, LPTA and Cierra Washington, ATC

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to schedule an evaluation to learn more about an injury or a pain you are feeling, CALL Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, at 703-450-4300 TODAY.

CLICK HERE  for more on how physical therapy can address your foot and ankle issues.

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