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The Flip Side of Flip Flops

With the hot weather upon us, many of us tend to wear flip flops in this summer heat.  Though they are often worn for comfort and ease, excessive wearing of flip-flops has been linked to discomfort. So why are flip flops so bad, you ask? Research at Auburn University in Alabama has found that wearing flip flops alters the way we walk and can lead to foot, ankle, and lower leg problems.

In brief, flip flops provide very little cushioning and almost no arch support for our feet.  Without such cushioning and support, abnormalities in the way we walk are exacerbated, and forces from the ground are not well absorbed.  As a result, inflammation and heel pain may arise.


Additionally, because the flip flop is not properly secured to our foot when walking, we inherently alter the way we walk in order to prevent it from falling off.  An example of this is gripping the base of the flip flop with our toes and shortening our walking stride in an attempt to avert the flip flop from shooting off our foot. This leads to compensation and abnormal stress on our muscles and joints. Therefore, discomfort in the foot and lower leg area is likely to follow.


For best foot health, flip flops should not be worn on a regular basis or for long periods of time. Reserve them for that quick rinse off in the gym change room or for that morning stroll to the mailbox.


If you want to wear sandals to help keep your feet cool, it is recommended to wear sandals with straps that fasten to your foot. Look for sandals that have more cushioning and arch support as well. The proper sandal will help encourage correct walking mechanics while keeping your feet strong and healthy!





Author: Dr. Elysse Pilon, B.A. Kin (Hons), D.C., C.Ac

Chiropractor | Acupuncture Provider | Paediatrics | Custom Orthotics


Please note that this is for educational purposes only and not intended as specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns make sure to consult one of our knowledgeable health practitioners at Lawrence Park Health Clinic.

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