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Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton want you to wear proper footwear for all occasions and to be cautious with flip flops

Different occasions call for different attire, and to complete your get-up, proper footwear is always essential.  Basketball shoes are necessary to protect the ankles during basketball play, while running shoes are designed specifically to give runners certain advantages on the track or trail, and the same goes for tennis, cycling, baseball shoes and so on.  For this warm weather, many decide to suit the occasion with open-air footwear like sandals and flip-flops, but unfortunately, too much time wearing them can be more harmful than you expect.

While flip-flops are certainly a comfortable choice that allow your feet to breathe and be exposed to the warm spring and summer air, the truth is that this comfort also comes at a cost.  Occasional use of flip-flops—to the beach, for a brief walk, around the yard—doesn’t pose any real dangers, but constantly wearing them for an extended duration may cause some harm to various parts of your body and can lead to pain or injury.

The issue is that most flip-flops aren’t designed like shoes, and they lack any real arch support, heel cushioning and shock absorption to help protect your feet.  Also, while using flip-flops, most people tend to grip their toes at the “thongs” to hold them in place, which strains the muscles in the foot and causes you to adjust the way you walk (gait).

Over time, this change in gait will lead you to start using muscles and joints in an abnormal way, and this process can result in problems in the foot all the way through to the lower back.  One of the most commonly treated injuries that can result from excessive flip-flop use is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the connective tissue along the bottom of the foot.  Other injuries include shin splints, metatarsalgia, Achilles tendinitis, calf strains, hip pain and lower back pain.

This certainly doesn’t mean you should stop wearing any flip-flops at all times, but only that you should be smart about which ones you wear and do so in moderation.  Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida recommends the following footwear tips:

  • Sport sandals offer more support for your arch than flip-flops and a heel strap alleviate pressure in the front of your foot. If you decide to still wear flip-flops, choose a pair made of firm materials with stiff soles; leather is a far better choice than plastic or other flimsy materials
  • Make sure your flip-flops fit properly and be sure to replace any old or worn-out pairs with a newer, more supportive pair
  • Only wear flip-flops for short periods of time and don’t use them for long hikes, any other instances where you’ll be walking for a while or while playing sports
  • Avoid running or jumping in flip-flops, which can lead to further injuries
  • If you experience any pain, apply ice to the painful area and try switching to a more supportive pair of flip-flops; contact a physical therapist if pain persists.

Don’t let the temptation of wearing flip-flops constantly cost you an injury.  At Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton, FL we can provide further assistance on footwear selection and can treat any pain you may be experiencing from flip-flops or other bad footwear choices.  Call us at 941-264-1414 to schedule an appointment.