By Jim Aram of Advantage Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, LLC
Each year I eagerly await flip-flop weather. This summer is no different. Slipping on flip-flo easy, convenient and, some may argue, fashionable. But before you purc cheap $4 flip-flops to match every summer outfit, remember that you get what you pay for. Inexpensive flip-flops may seem like a bargain, but you’ll pay in other ways:
- Spongy soles offer no heel, arch or structural support. While they may initially feel soft and comfortable, you may soon wonder why your heels, arches or toes hurt.
- Lack of proper support can also cause pain and discomfort in your knees, hip and back. This can happen as the result of repeated impact and misalignment.
- Flat flip-flops place excessive strain on your Achilles tendons. Those used to wearing shoes with a slightly- raised heel will find that flat shoes may overstretch their calf muscles.
- They can increase your risk of falling or injuring yourself. The flimsy nature of this footwear makes it a bad choice while riding a bike, running or hiking down an incline. I think we’ve all witnessed someone tripping over their flip- flops, or experienced this ourselves.
- Low-quality flip-flops offer little protection. It’s easy for sharp objects to puncture the shoes and your feet. Wearing poor-quality flip-flops can also cause calluses and blisters.
Still, I refuse to give up wearing flip-flops altogether. If you feel the same, I recommend investing in a quality pair. Many brands, such as Reef® and Sole, offer structural support and quality. When compared to what you invest in quality running shoes, the price really is not that bad.
Also, moderation is key. For the beach or pool, flip-flops could be a great option. Walking the entire Las Vegas Strip? Speaking from personal experience—flip-flops are a bad idea.
So let the air run through your toes in a quality pair of flip- flops, and give your feet (and hip, knees and back) a break by wearing the proper footwear for each of your summer activities.
Jim Aram is the “chief excitement officer” at Advantage Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, LLC, which has clinics in Gainesville and Manassas. Aram has more than a decade of health care administration experience in outpatient orthopedic and physical therapy clinics. An avid outdoor sportsman, he is also an endurance runner and a triathlete.