Infinity Spine Center Blog

Summer Things You May Want to Avoid– Part 1 of 2

Sure, they cute.

They convenient.

But are flip flops jacking up your mojo?
The annual return of the flip flop is upon us. But you may want to consider your alternatives for summer footwear especially if you have any of the following:

1. Plantar fascitis 
2. Metatarsalgia or Morten’s Neuroma
3. Knee pain (patellar tendon pain, chondromalacia, meniscus pain) 
4. Hip pain
5. Low or mid back pain
6. Turf toe (big toe pain when walking or running)
7. Footitis dis
8. Footitis dat

When you change the mechanics of the foot, you change everything upstream. 
Here’s why flip flops aren’t your best choice for your summer footwear

They jack up the mechanics of your toes, feet, and ankles.

To keep your flip flop on your foot, you have to grip (plantarflexion or downward movement of toes) with your toes. When you grip with your toes, you don’t allow them to bend (dorsiflex or come upward) which is a part of normal walking.

Toe gripping also decreases pronation or flattening of the arch which is also a part of normal walking. Orthotics that provide arch support will prevent pronation of the foot as well. This is why orthotics are not the fix to the issue. They keep your foot in a more rigid supinated (arched) position as you walk.

The lack of pronation (flattening) of your foot leads to decreased movement of your ankle bones which decreases ankle bending (or dorsiflexion).

See the train wreck coming?!!!

The decreased ankle bending and flattening of the foot causes the knee to have more tension leading to knee issues (and hip issues and back issues and neck issues and headache issues).

Does your brain talk to your feet?
Get yo feet to work with these 3 exercises!
If you can’t shorten your foot and your toes are out of control, arch support and flip flops are no bueno.
Here’s what you want in your summer footwear

One of the best ways to allow the foot to function better with footwear is to wear ones with a heel strap. The heel strap keeps the sole closer to your foot preventing the need for you to scrunch up your toes to hold the footwear on your foot.

“Yo, Cornerman!” Those heel straps dorky, bruh!”
Another thing to look out for when shopping for your summer footwear is minimal to no arch support. Yup! MINIMAL to NO ARCH SUPPORT.

“But Cornerman, my doctor says I have high arches, so I need arch support.”

“But Cornerman, my doctor says that my arch is collapsed, so I need arch support.”

What?!!!!

So everyone needs arch support???

Why arch support is bad news for your brain

1. It prevents NORMAL pronation (arch flattening). It is normal for the arch of your foot to flatten during certain phases of walking.

2. Arch support acts as a “crutch” to prevent your brain and nervous system from communicating with your foot. Your brain and spinal cord send messages to your foot to make your foot function the way it’s designed to.

Here are some alternatives to flip flops

1. Xero sandals

2. Luna sandals

3. Earth Runners

4. Bedrock Sandals

5. Shamma Sandals

Your 3 Step Foot Program

Step 1: Do each exercise in the video above (small foot, toe raises, toe splaying).

Step 2: Identify which one is the most challenging for you.

Step 3: Do the most challenging one for a total of 5 minutes per day for two weeks.

Have an awesome weekend!

Your Cornerman with love,

Dr. Thoma

Resource:
A comparison of gait biomechanics of flip-flops, sandals, barefoot and shoes
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3907140/

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