From Flip to Flop

Orthopedics, Seasonal Tips Steward Health Care

Flip flops, the summer staple ‘shoe’, might be a real health flop. Aside from the obvious lack of protection (meaning you’re more vulnerable to dropped objects, stubbed toes and the like), your favorite pair could damage your feet.

“The feet are the foundation of your whole body. This is the base of the skeleton,” says Kurt Hofmann, MD, a Steward Health Care Network board-certified foot and ankle surgeon. “With only a small strip of fabric holding the foot in place, your toes need to grip the shoe to keep it on. Overtime, this repetitive gripping can lead to over use of the muscles which can trigger tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons that connect your muscle to the bones), which can result in tears or ruptures in the tendons. And, because you are carrying your foot differently than in a more supportive shoe, you actually change the way you walk.”

People wearing flip flops typically take shorter steps and hit their heels to the ground with less vertical force which can throw off your natural gait and trigger pain and problems throughout the body.  Changes in your natural gait can lead to issues with your ankles, knees and back to name a few.

So, here are tips on how to walk properly in flip flops:

  • Get a good pair of flip-flops
  • Make sure they don’t rub the top of your feet
  • When walking, keep your feet pointed relatively straight
  • Pinch your big toe and second toe together as you walk
  • Curl your toes and foot a little as you walk
  • Walk heel-to-toe

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hofmann, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.