Flip Flop Dangers

May 22, 2009 5:39:38 PM PDT
Now that hot temperatures are here in the Valley ... more people are slipping on flip-flops. Flip flops are almost part of a summer-time uniform. But could flip-flops be a bad thing? Auburn University researchers placed reflective balls on key points of people's legs, then videotaped them, measuring vertical force and stride. They found flip-flops significantly changed how people walked.

Sports Medicine Researcher Justin Shroyer said, "All the variables that we looked at, there were several that were different between when people walked in flip-flops and when they walked in tennis shoes."

Computer analysis found flip-flop wearers took shorter steps, their heels didn't hit the ground with as much force and their toes didn't come up as much.

"What we found is you do change the way you walk, so if you do have lower leg problems, if you do have foot problems, pain, and you wear flip-flops a lot, then maybe reconsider wearing them all the time," said Shroyer.

But if you can't bear to give up the shoes for good, choose flip-flops with arch and heel support, only wear them for short amounts of time, don't wear them if you have to walk far, and when they start to wear out, throw them out.

"Once you blow that flip-flop out, don't break out the duct tape and try to fix them. Get a new pair," said Shroyer.

Researchers say sandals with heel straps are a healthier choice because your foot doesn't need to clench to keep the footwear secure.

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