You want to grab a pair in every color of the rainbow — after all they are sooo fun and inexpensive! Flip flops have returned just in time for the warmer weather. A flip-flop fact to consider, before you splurge on these candy colored rubber slides of summer, is the cost to your health and well-being. After all, risking an injury like a herniated disc and months of rehabilitation or recovering from spine surgery may be enough to make you rethink slipping into flip flops for the next several months. Oh, sure its fine to wear them occasionally, after all what is the point of summer if you can’t wiggle your toes in fresh air, but you should opt for sturdier everyday footwear.
According to at least one physical therapist, interviewed in a Fox Business article, when we wear flip-flops, it causes us to change the way we walk. She said that although people expect to experience foot pain, the stress to the body is more extensive. The biomechanics at the hips, knees and back are impeded and as a result, the spine absorbs additional impact, often resulting in back pain. In bad situations it may even lead to herniated discs, and if left untreated, eventually require spine surgery. Although these instances are not as common, it makes sense to avoid back problems when the answer is as easy as wearing supportive shoes.
So what are we to do when our tootsies are screaming to be free and happy, but the health pros seem to be saying they need to stay under complete cover? Fortunately supportive sandals have come a long way in terms of cushioning, arch and ankle support. Better sandals have built-in support, breathable soles, wide foot and ankle straps. There are many sport and outdoorsy styled options that are designed for heavy duty walking and are pretty cute as well. The Fox Business article gave a daunting cost estimate for physical therapy sessions and spine surgery totaling $81,600 in a worst-case situation, such as a herniated disc injury that doesn’t resolve with time and interventional treatment. So next time you’re shopping for summer sandals, you might want to add this amount to the cost of those rubber flip flops, and compare that with some better summer shoes, happy feet and a healthy back!