advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Forget Flip-Flops?

It seems that almost everyone is wearing flip-flops everywhere these days. Aside from the propriety issues (there's a time and a place, right?), I suspect that these "shoes" aren't good for the feet. What are the ill effects, if any, of wearing flip-flops?

A
Answer (Published 8/8/2008)

Revised 7/16/2009

A flip-flop is a flat, backless, usually rubber sandal held loosely on the sole by a Y-shaped strap that passes between the first and second toes and around either side of the foot. They do appear to be the preferred summer footwear, particularly among young people. And you're right - they aren't the best kind of foot protection for daily or prolonged wear. A study presented at the 2008 meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) concluded that wearing flip-flops repeatedly can lead to leg or foot pain, probably because they can alter an individual's stride and do not provide arch support. Researchers compared flip-flops and sneakers in 39 men and women aged 19 to 25 to evaluate the angles and force with which the feet hit the ground. They found a statistically significant decrease in force with flip flops and concluded that this difference may change normal gait in those who wear them. This may explain why some people who wear flip-flops experience lower leg pain.

Justin F. Shroyer, a graduate student at Auburn University in Alabama who was the lead author of the study, cautioned that flip-flops are not good for prolonged use or for walking long distances; instead, they should be reserved for casual use and worn only for short periods of time. What's more, if you do wear them, replace them every three or four months, Shroyer said. (Do the same with running shoes.) If you notice any leg pain and still want to wear flip-flops, he advises looking for a pair with more support. While they're likely to be more costly, flip-flops with support may help you avoid disturbances of gait that might lead to pain.

By the way, another study presented at the ACSM meeting found that wearing high heels when you walk down stairs can cause an unstable gait that might result in actual injury to the leg or foot.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here