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  • Writer's pictureStaff

A Better Flip Flop

Updated: May 14

For those of you who are diehard flip flop fans yes, you can wear flip-flops—as long as you follow your foot doctor's advice.

There are a few things about flip-flops that keep foot doctors up at night but not any more. Once having a reputation for worsening existing foot and ankle problems, flip flops were blamed for causing a variety of lower extremity pathologies in the leg, knee and back and increasing underlying foot deformities and rightly so. Their lack of proper support affected gait and posture leading to a tremendous amount of stress not only on the foot but the rest of the body and the material they were made from lacked the full amount of cushioning, comfort, support and control to prevent injury. With nothing to control motion and stability flip-flops can also lead to tumbles, twisted ankles and fractured bones. Flip flops offered little protection from foreign objects and the elements, exposing your feet to debris, pieces of glass, rocks, twigs. In addition to that because flip flops often slip halfway off your feet when you're walking, more so when running, you're more likely to slip and fall.

Their basic construction hadn't changed much since ancient times when a simple sole and  y-shaped strap provided a protective covering for the feet. But that began to change and the basic tenet of functional foot health "how you strike your heel to the ground" and the importance of lower extremity biomechanics began a whole other part of the shoe industry creating flip flops with the innovation and technology needed to ensure that the universal symbol of summer remains an icon of footwear and a healthy

footgear choice.

Here are some things you should look for from a foot surgeon's perspective who has seen his fair share of problems caused by flip flops and remember flip flops like any other shoe should be fitted to your foot. Arch contour, impact cushioning for protection at the toes and cushioning at the heels and an anatomically contoured footbed are features to look for. Proper sizing from professionally trained retail staff will ensure the right flip flop for you.

Recommendations When Choosing Flip Flop Sandals

  • Most flip-flops require you to hold on with your toes causing your feet to "crunch up" in an unnatural position. Look for flip flops that are engineered so you don’t need to grip so hard to keep them on.

  • Look for substantial materials that bounce back after each step, giving the full amount of cushioning, comfort, support and control to prevent injury.

  • Follow the guidelines on choosing the right foot gear as flip flops should be under the same consideration as any other shoe regarding stability and flex. A flimsy or hyper-flexible flip flop will cause your foot to bend in places it shouldn't or overstretch.

  • When choosing flip flops for kids be sure to choose flip flops that complement your child's natural movement and foot development that are appropriate for growing feet.

  • Be smart about wearing flip flops. If you will be walking in an area that exposes your feet to cuts, bruises or walking or hiking for long periods of time consider other foot gear. If you have a cut or wound anywhere on your feet do not wear flip flops until it has healed to avoid a more serious infection.

  • Look for flip flops approved by the the APMA (the American Podiatric Medical Association) the leading resource for foot health information and sandals that have been biomechanically engineered.

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