By Jennifer Illes, DC
Summer and warmer weather mean more patients are wearing sandals and flip-flops! They are gaining popularity for use for a variety of occasions for their casual and comfortable style. A survey on 1,000 females showed that approximately 43% of them preferred wearing flip-flops over sports shoes during shopping. (1) And although it’s always fun to kick your typical non-summer footwear aside, sandals are typically known to be the most non-foot-friendly shoes.
The typical sandal or flip-flop is very thin and offers little support or cushioning to the foot. When wearing flip-flops, people tend to alter their gait by taking shorter steps, which often results in hip and lower back pain. 2 And while the sole may seem soft and comfortable, this can cause pain in the heels, arches, ball of the foot, and toes. The foot also ends up over-pronating (rolling inward) in flip-flops, especially with no added support for the arch of the foot. (2)
Flip-flops also make the muscles and tendons work overtime. Since there is only a little V-shaped strap coming from between the toes and across the arch of the foot, there is not much holding the flip-flop to the foot. As people walk, they end up gripping their toes, making the muscles and tendons in their feet do all the work, which can lead to tendinitis.
Of all the summer footwear options, flip-flops are the most damaging to the feet. And despite what we tell patients, they are going to continue wearing them. So here are 4 “C’s” for your patients to consider when choosing sandals or flip-flops this summer.
Top 4 “C’s” to Wear Custom Orthotic Sandal and Flip-Flops:
#1: Column of Support: Orthotic Sandals (like the regular custom-made orthotics) may correct foot positioning. While typically flip-flops are worn on a variety of uneven surfaces, like sand, their job is to realign the feet with the lower limbs of the body to reduce stress in the ankles, knees, and back.
#2: Comfortable: Orthotic flip-flops give ultimate comfort to the rest of the body. It’s easier to walk all day and still feel relaxed. The body is given a solid foundation from the feet contributing to a very good posture and alignment of the body. Also, you will notice it is quite easy to make strides with the orthotic arch support sandals as minimal strains are incurred to the arches of the feet.
#3: Convenient: Easy on-and-off means it’s convenient to wear at any point.
The great news is that Foot Levelers has a trendy variety of men and women’s custom orthotic flip-flops and sandals which are designed to offer the casual footwear with the support the world has long needed. Ordinary flip-flops can do a tremendous amount of damage to the feet and the body. Foot Levelers builds in their exclusive their 3-arch support to all their custom orthotic flip-flops that provide the comfort and support and helps align the body.
Assess your patients’ feet and shoes as part of your normal intake process, and don’t miss the opportunity to talk to them about having the proper support in their flip-flops. Encourage your patients to choose their summer footwear carefully—it’s critical to good health. Sandals or flip-flops that don’t properly support the feet negatively impact the kinetic chain. High-quality, supportive footwear, ideally with support for all three of the foot’s arches, gives the body a healthy, solid foundation that is less likely to experience biomechanical problems and more receptive to chiropractic care.
1. Carl TJ & Barrett SL. Computerized analysis of plantar pressure variation in flip-flops, athletic shoes, and bare feet. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2008. 98(5): 374-8.
2. Parker-Pope, T. (2008, June 5). Summer flip-flops may lead to foot pain. Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/05/summer-flip-flops-may-lead-to-foot-pain/