Flip Flops and Back Pain

Flip Flops and Back Pain

chiropractic Oak Lawn IL hip pain

Summer has arrived. Have you dumped the shoes and socks for perfectly pedicured toes and flip flops? While the pedicure may be great for your feet and toes, the flip flops, unfortunately, may cause not only foot problems, but also hip and lower back trouble.

Consider the main premise behind the development of flip flops. They were originally designed for beach goers to walk safely in the soft sand. Now, they are the most popular summer footwear sold in a plethora of fashionable designs. We wear them whether we’re on a soft, forgiving beach or walking on concrete all day.

Flip flops and many other sandals lack proper support for your feet and lower back in a number of ways. For one, your foot is not really “contained” and therefore, you tend to take shorter steps which alters your gait and shifts the way your hips move. This can cause strain and misalignment of the hips and lower back. As well, we tend to grip the sandal with our toes as we walk which can lead to foot problems such as toe cramps, bunions and plantar fasciitis.

The sole of the flip flop varies from a very minimal flat piece of leather or foam to a chunky, cushy sole to some that are wedge style. The flat flip flops offer very little support and can be very stressful to the lower back. The effect is similar to standing on concrete or tile for an extended time.

The cushier chunky flip flops may seem like a better alternative and many notice less toe cramping, however, people tend to roll their feet inward as they walk. You may even notice the inside of the flip flop soles wearing faster than the outside. Again, this shifts your gait and can lead to hip misalignment and lower back strain, often on one side or the other.

The wedge flip flop may be the most problematic as now, you have all of the aforementioned flip flop flaws as well as the general problems with wearing heels. When you wear high heels, the hamstring is abnormally shortened which leads can lead to a hamstring injury. Wearing heels can also lead to an abnormal, inward curvature of the lower spine.

Still, many find flip flops to be the “perfect” summer footwear and despite their potential for causing foot, hip and back pain, their popularity will not be waning anytime soon. Limit the length of time you wear flip flops and choose more practical and supportive shoes for long days on your feet. Opt for sport sandals designed to support your arches and facilitate proper gait and lower back support. Going barefoot, in fact, may be one of the best alternatives provided you are on safe and cool enough terrain (a soft, grassy lawn for instance).

For all of your lower back pain concerns, please contact your local Oak Lawn, IL chiropractic team!

By Nathan Ruof D.C.


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Ruof Chiropractic of Oak Lawn
10250 Central Avenue
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
(708) 423-1440