But flip-flops are so comfortable …

But flip-flops are so comfortable …

Look at your toes while wearing flip-flops. The distal part of your toe is trying to flex down (planter flex) to hold the flip-flop on while the other part of your toe (middle) is trying to bridge up (dorsi flex). Unfortunately, your toes should be doing exactly the opposite.

Look at your toes while wearing flip-flops. The distal part of your toe is trying to flex down (planter flex) to hold the flip-flop on while the other part of your toe (middle) is trying to bridge up (dorsi flex). Unfortunately, your toes should be doing exactly the opposite.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

We all know that high heels are famous for inflicting foot pain, but flip-flops or those light sandals, typically made of plastic or rubber, with a thong between the big and second toe, can also create foot problems. According to a research study at Auburn University, flip-flops may alter a person’s gait or stride and cause pain in the lower legs and feet. This pain has been known to resonate all the way up to the head, neck and jaw.

The researchers said that people take shorter strides and their heels hit the ground with less vertical force because the toes try to grip the bottom of the flip-flops to hold them on the feet.

Look at your toes while wearing flip-flops. The distal part of your toe is trying to flex down (planter flex) to hold the flip-flop on while the other part of your toe (middle) is trying to bridge up (dorsi flex). Unfortunately, your toes should be doing exactly the opposite.

This incorrect toe action shortens the natural stride and prevents the natural “locking” of the feet. This forces the hip and leg musculatures to work harder, while other muscles shut down. Wearing flip-flops long term can contribute to hammer toes and are the result of years of compensation from the intrinsic (small) foot muscles.

To avoid hammer toes and other feet problems, you may want to reconsider wearing flip-flops. You might also consider taking off your flip-flops in favor of walking barefoot. Doing this offers benefits far beyond foot health, as it allows your body to be grounded to the earth.

 

Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 34, Number 4, August/September 2015.

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