When it comes to summertime or warmer weather in general, flip-flops are often the footwear of choice for most people. Let’s face it, they’re great for many reasons: they’re easy to take on and off, they keep your feet cool and they can withstand all the activities involving water that occur during the summer. Unfortunately, if you’re someone who already suffers from chronic back pain due to various spinal conditions, such as arthritis, spondylolisthesis or sciatica, wearing flip-flops may actually be making your condition worse.
How Do Flip-Flops Cause Back Pain?
Flip-flops can negatively impact your spine health in various ways. For example, in most cases, flip-flops tend to offer little to no support and cushioning for your feet and ankles. Additionally, they put you at greater risk of tripping, slipping or falling because of the style and the way they are loosely connected to your feet.The biggest reason flip-flops can cause pain, however, is because they cause you to walk differently than you would in a regular, more traditional form of footwear. When you walk in flip-flops, you typically have to pinch or curl your toes under in order to keep your sandals from slipping off while walking around. Changing the way you walk causes you to shorten your strides, which decreases the amount of time your feet are in contact with the ground and puts pressure on the outer edges of your feet – rather than on your heels. These slight changes can ultimately result in putting an unusual strain on your feet, legs, hips, pelvis and lower spine.
Now that you know why flip-flops may cause pain, here’s some things to keep in mind next time you decide to slip on a pair.
Wear Your Flip Flops Wisely
Ideally, if your flip-flops are causing back pain, or other types of pain and problems, it’s probably time to give up summer’s favorite shoe altogether. However, if you’re not ready to say goodbye to them quite yet, here’s how you can minimize the negative impact they may have on your body:
- Avoid wearing them for long periods of time. If they’re likely to cause pain, there’s no need to wear them all day, everyday. These shoes are great for certain times, but they’re not made for long walks, running, making quick movements, or continuous use when you’re expecting to be on your feet all day.
- Opt for a rigid, supportive pair of flip-flops over a flimsy pair. If your flip-flops are too flexible, you’re more likely to curl your toes which is a big part of how they may be causing your pain in the first place. Additionally, find a pair that offers some support for the arches of your feet.
- Slow down! The faster you walk in flip-flops, the more you’re enhancing the changes in the way you walk. Avoid adding increased pressure on your lower body and back by always keeping a moderate pace while walking. And, remember – never run!
If you’re an avid flip-flop wearer and have followed the above recommendations, but you are still suffering from back pain or other problems, it may be time to look into other solutions for your pain relief. Consider contacting Southern Laser Spine for a free phone consultation by calling us at (305) 901-1268 or clicking the button.