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Do You Wear Flip Flops?

Sheepo's flip-flops
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Of course you do. Everybody does. They’re cheap, they’re convenient, they are the summer foot wear—and they have been for decades. Flip flops evolved from the traditional woven-soled Japanese z?ri used as beach wear in New Zealand in the 1930s. These sandals came to the US with our returning WW II troops.

Unfortunately, they make you more vulnerable to injuries, and produce long-term problems.

Why wearing flip flops isn’t  good

When you walk in flip flops—or any shoe that has no heel strap—you automatically adjust your stride and how you use your foot to keep the sandals on. Whether they’re $1.99 flip flops from the grocery store or $100 Birkenstocks, you will walk right out of them if you don’t adjust your step. Watch others walk around in them and you’ll start to see what I mean. Try it yourself. Put on a pair and walk like you were walking barefoot. Better yet, run in them. It is viturally impossible. A man running in flip flops looks like a woman running in high heels: their heels never touch the ground.

In 2008, Auburn University researchers found that wearing flip-flops can cause sore feet, ankles, and legs. The research showed flip-flop wearers took shorter steps. This stride produced problems from the foot to the hips. In 17 years of having a clinic in Arizona, I saw a lot of clients who had feet, ankle, knee, hip, and even back problems caused, in part, by the flip-flop stride. Long-time flip-flop wearers have thick and tense lower calves from years of never stretching them out with a natural stride. If you want a shapely leg, don’t wear these sandals.

Solutions

If you don’t want tense feet and calves, change your shoes. Other than going barefoot, you can simply find a sandal that has a heel strap. They may not be as cool, cheap or easy to put on as a flip flop, but your body will appreciate it.

Many people are re-discovering walking or running naturally through barefoot running. Moving around barefoot, or in some of the new “barefoot shoes,” can slowly release the tension built up by shoes that originally created unnatural stride and structural adjustments.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advance Rolfer, www.align.org, 265.8440. This article and many more health and wellness articles are at the blog: www.sandpointwellnesscouncil.com. Go to the blog to ask questions or add your comments any article.

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