Avenue Clinic

Avenue Clinic

Summer Footwear aka ‘ The Flip Flop! ‘

Summers arrived and the weathers here to stay,  HOPEFULLY!!!  Anyway, this can only mean one thing,  more time outside and lots more hours clocked up wearing our beloved FLIP FLOPS!!! (Slaps, Thongs, whatever you want to call them)

So apart from the obvious lack of protection making us more vulnerable to dropped objects, stubbed toes and the like.  Could your new found favourite shoes for the summer season be causing you more damage than you think?
The feet, being the base of our skeleton,  act as the foundations to our body so problems here (including poor footwear) can have a domino effect meaning other parts of our bodies need to compensate.  Like anything , moderation is always a good aim.  Slipping your flips flops on to hang out by the pool or for a quick jaunt down the beach is fine but when you start using poorly made cheap summer shoes or flips flops to spend all day on your feet walking around shopping, carrying heavy bags, trekking across cities on your holidays, that’s when problems can start!

Effects of Flips Flops:

  • Toes:
With only a small strip of fabric holding the shoe on,  we find ourselves gripping the shoe with our toes more. This can lead to over use of some of the muscles in our feet leading to tendinitis.  It can also lead to various conditions causing the toes to change shape such as Hammertoes.
  • Space Between toes:
The area between the toes which helps to stabilise the shoe can cause friction if it is poorly designed or uses cheaper harsher materials,  Thus causing blisters.
  • Bacteria:
Research has shown that Flip Flops can be home to over 18,000 bacteria including some harmful ones from fecal matter.
  • Underfoot:
Our feet are in constant motion, moving around on the base of the flip flop compared with normal shoes offering more support.  This, mixed in with the heat on a hot day, can cause blisters on the underside of the feet.
  • Arch Support:
Lack of arch support, particularly from the cheaper flip flops and summer shoes can mean extra strain on the underside of the foot. If you are on your feet all day or covering long distances, this can lead to a condition called Plantar fascitis where the tissues (padding) on the underside of your foot becomes inflamed making it hard to walk.
  • Heel Pain:
Heel pain is also a sign of Plantar Fascitits. Open backed flip flops allow our heel to constantly lift off the shoe aggravating this further.
  • Ankles and up:
We tend to carry ourselves differently when wearing shoes like this compared to more supportive footwear.  Infact, studies have shown we take smaller strides and put less vertical force through our heels when wearing flipflops,  ultimately changing our natural gait.  This can trigger pain into our knee, hips and lower back. Not what we signed up for right?
However,  FlipFlops can be a good edition to your Gym bag year round – helping prevent you from developing Athletes foot or Plantar Warts when walking around the swimming pool and public showers at your local.

Summer Tips:

  • Size – Find a good fit.  Your toes or heel should not be hanging off the end of the shoe
  • Bend Test – If the flip flop bends easily in half at the middle, look elsewhere.  You need more support than this!
  • Arch Support – Pick a flip flop with a thicker sole and a bump in the middle offering better support. They should not just be flat!!!
  • Straps – If you can buy a shoe with a strap around the ankle, this will offer better support and stop the shoe moving around as much aswell as your heel lifting away from it.
  • Material – Some of the more expensive shoes are made out of better, less abrasive materials which have better anti-bacterial properties for a longer lasting, healthier shoe.
  • Replace them – Like anything,  Flipflops wear out and become dirty.  If you are using them alot over summer, it might be worth buying two pairs and replacing them half way through.
Have a good one from all of us at Avenue Clinic

"I cannot speak too highly of the Osteopath’s skills and I recommend anyone suffering from a condition requiring treatment by an osteopath to get in touch with Avenue."

Mr R (for Osteopathy )

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