George Russell, M.A., D.C.
Summer Scare: Flip-flops

Flip-flops have come a long way from their humble beginnings at the beach and public pool.  They've now infiltrated every part of our lives, from the boardwalk to the boardroom.   


But the seemingly carefree flip-flop has a dark side:


Flip-flops are bad for your feet and your body.  


We've all experienced that between-the-toes pleasure of a flip-flop's spongy thong.  And, as it happens, that's just where the trouble begins.  


When walking while wearing flip-flops, there is no healthy area of the foot to push off of except for the base of your first two toes-the toes that hold the thong.   In other words, if you're squeezing a thong between your first and second toes, there is no healthy way to walk.  For example:


·                    Pushing off from the inside of your big toe results in painful, and/or fallen arches.

·                    Pushing off from the inside of the big toe also creates or worsens a bunion, and can make the toes overlap and deform.

·                    Pushing off the other toes stresses and tightens the outer leg and hip.

·                    Because you can't push the ground away behind you, you can't take a full step and therefore you walk with a shortened stride.


Fallen arches, bunions, a shortened stride, tight outer legs and back - these lead to a host of other symptoms, and may lead to moral weakness as well.  While no direct link has been shown   -- yet -- between the innocent little flip-flop and global climate change, it's best to limit your use of flip-flops to the patio or sauna.    


Walking in bare feet is better than walking in flip-flops.


Now you may be thinking - You! Don't make me choose between my flip-flops and Dr. Russell!


Sigh.  If you must wear flip flops, get thick, supportive ones with an imprint of your foot that creates some arch support.   Better yet, wear sandals with a strap around the back of your heel.  This will keep you cool - in every sense - but protect one of the most important joints in your entire body.


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DATE: 2007
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
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George Russell, M.A., D.C. | 101 Fifth Avenue, Suite 10C | between 17th and 18th Street | New York, NY | NY | 10003