Out of the blue, your back hurts. Or maybe it’s your hips that ache whether you sit or stand. Before you blame getting older or arthritis, the likely culprit may be right at your feet: your flip flops.
For decades, Americans have looked forward to summer weather and a great excuse to don a pair of flip flops. Trouble is, if you’re not careful, your flip flops may lead you to step into the emergency room.
Wearing flip flops – especially those that offer no support – can cause injuries from your toes to your spine. In fact, more than 25,000 people wind up in the emergency room for one type of injury or another that stems from wearing flip flops. A common problem is that flip flops tend to make your feet roll in, placing unwanted pressure on your tendons and bones. Flip flops cause a lot of people to trip and fall. Some develop infections from blisters that flip flops create.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to throw out all the flip flops in your closet. It does, however, mean you should choose your flip flops carefully. And, if you have any type of bone, joint or muscular pain that persists, make sure you see an orthopaedic specialist. If you wait too long to seek treatment, it can make your injury harder to treat.
Follow these seven tips to reduce the chances of getting injured by wearing flip flops:
- Don’t wear flip flops all the time. It takes time for your feet and ankles to get used to wearing flip flops. Remember to wear supportive shoes when possible, especially if you’re going to be walking all day. Save the flip flops for the beach or the pool.
- Toss them when they’re worn. Start every summer with a new pair. Flip flops often break down easily.
- Go for soft leather. A leather foot bed will form to your feet, while a plastic or rubber foot bed will not.
- Look for arch support. A small bump near the middle of the shoe will give your arch some support.
- Choose flip flops with straps. Foot and ankle straps and straps across the middle of your foot will help prevent sliding and unstable movement.
- Do the bend test. If you can easily bend the flip flop in the middle, keep shopping. Too much flexibility equals little support, which can set you up for an injury.
- Don’t drive wearing flip flops. If your flip flop gets caught under the brake or gas pedals, you can have a car accident.