Flat Feet and Fallen Arches – Are your Summer Feet Starting to Feel Flip-Flopped?

by | Jul 15, 2013 | Foot Care & Foot Fitness | 0 comments

flip flopsDo you have flat feet and fallen arches?  Are you starting to notice that your feet aren’t feeling up to par?  When you stand up tall and look down do you see a nice lifted arch, or are you noticing that your feet seem to be getting flatter, arches are falling?  Are your feet are starting to hurt more instead of less?  What you’re wearing on your feet may be a big part of the reason your foot pain problems are getting worse.

Answer this question:  Because it’s summer, have you been spending more time in your flip-flops and strappy backless sandals instead of good supportive shoes?  Yes or No?

Do you realize that you are much better off to go barefoot all summer than spend ANY time in flip-flops, flats and strapless sandals!  And here’s why…

  1.  Flip-Flops shorten your stride.
  2. Flip-Flops cue the muscles of your feet to work incorrectly
  3. Flip Flops offer ZERO support for the soles of your feet.

Why is your stride length important?

Stride length is how big our steps are.  If you’re unsure of your footing, chances are, your steps will be smaller.  A longer stride develops hip strength and trains the Hamstrings and Glutes while strengthening the whole back of the body.  Because so many people sit for much of the day, our hip flexor muscles in the front of the hips are short and tight anyway…Having a longer stride should be what helps stretch and lengthen these muscles out.  But if your shoes are limiting your ability to take a nice long stride your legs will swing in front of the body continuing to over-develop the hip flexors and weaken the hip extensors.  When you wear flip-flops your stride will be short to ensure that your flip-flops stay on your feet!

How are Flip-Flops cueing my feet to work incorrectly?

To hold the shoe on the foot your toes curl under as you take each and every step.  The muscles between the big toe and second toe squeeze against the “thong,” and all the toes curl under from the tips of the toes (which places more stress under the knuckles and the ball of the foot.)  If you’re experiencing ball of foot pain, arch pain or plantar fasciitis problems, wearing flip-flops is only contributing to your problems.  PLUS with every step this toe-curling-under action is also contributing to the development of hammer toes!  Why create more foot pain and problems?

Flip-Flops offer zero support for healthy, fit feet.  It’s true, just look at them… there is nothing good for your body to be had by wearing flip-flops.  The only 3 places I’d ever recommend wearing them.

1)      Home from a pedicure.

2)      In the shower and locker room at the gym

3)      To protect your feet on the hot deck at the pool

Otherwise, stick to shoes that are tied onto your feet.  They can still be cute sandals to show off your toes, they just need to have a strap around the back to hold the shoe onto your ankle.

I mentioned above that you’re better off to go barefoot than wear bad shoes.  And while I firmly stand behind this statement, I want you also to know that I’m not on the bandwagon saying it’s best to do everything barefoot!  Sure walking barefoot on the beach is an excellent way to strengthen your feet.  But a good supportive shoe can go a long way to help keep you well supported from the ground up.  Yes we need to have all our muscles working well to support us too, and that’s where barefoot exercise like Pilates, Yoga and RunFit/Fantastic Feet training can come in.   But if you’re smart enough to be exercising your feet and doing Pilates type barefoot activities, you should also be smart enough to keep your feet out of flip-flops!

Just saying…  Think about your feet when you’re grabbing shoes to go for the day.

Take care of your feet, they’ve got to last you a lifetime!  Avoid wearing Flip-Flops and strapless shoes to help keep your stride long, arches, lifted, and toes working properly for healthy, pain-free feet.

Aliesa George: Over the past three decades, Aliesa George has helped assist people with their personal health journeys by sharing, teaching, and developing Pilates, Foot Fitness, and other Mind-Body programs.


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