Summer's favorite footwear, flip-flops are responsible for more health problems than any other type of shoes, even high heels – say the podiatrists. Yes, a new study from the American College of Sports Medicine articulates that walking in flip-flops is a possible cause of aches and pains all over the body.
Prof. Wendi Weimer of Auburn University led the study with her graduate students to look at how the foot hits the ground. The participants were asked to wear either sneakers or thong flip-flops.
Prof. Weimer said, "We became interested in flip-flops when we noticed an increase in lower leg pain when our students came back from summer and were transitioning back into wearing tennis shoes and street shoes.”
Graduate student Justin Shroyer said, "What we found is that people take shorter strides and that their ankle angle … the angle between their shin and the top of their foot … is actually increased … [We] attribute the change in ankle to protecting the toes as the foot swings through, but also to keeping the flip-flop on the foot so that it doesn't fly off as they swing forward. And so they do alter their gait.”
The podiatrists explained, with the average American taking between 10,000 and 20,000 steps each day, the small changes in one's gait can add up to serious injury.
Dr. Rock Positano from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, explained, "The major shock absorption occurs back on the heel, and if the surface between the heel and the ground is not supported it does not allow the heel to absorb shock as well as it should. Which means the foot works harder than it should and people tend to develop overuse injuries such as tendonitis, or in this case, lower leg, knee, hip and back problems.”