I do a fair share of rehab work with my clients and one thing that constantly comes up is the need to correct a boatload of problems that arise from wearing flip flops. Yes, flip flops. Some people are aware of the damage that high heels do, but flip flops are considered good to go. Well, they are not and if you wear them frequently you too will suffer the consequences. Let me explain.
There are two typical compensation patterns that the body comes up with when wearing shoes with no heel strap. First, instead of opening the toes as in normal gait pattern, it will flex them down in an attempt to hold on to the shoe itself. That changes the very first contact with the ground, changes completely what functional lines get recruited upstream and it leads to a very tight arch.
After a while, body gets very tired of clamping on the flip flops with the toes and it will shift into external hip rotation (duck feet) in order to drag the shoes along instead. Overtime, this will lead to your adductors acting as hamstrings and glutes. Subsequently, glutes will atrophy, lower back will take a beating and everything upstream will pay the price as well.
If it does not seem like a big deal to you, it is probably because your baseline of performance is not that high and you think that running around with no glutes is totally fine. But in reality it leads to all kinds of problems, injuries, aches and pains, surgeries and replaced joints from premature wear and tear. Everything is training and if you pretend to be an athlete for an hour a day at the gym, but condition your body to perform a dysfunctional movement pattern for the rest of the day, guess what method will win?
My recommendation, having dealt with an astonishing number of issues with clients that stem from wearing flip flops is to ditch them completely. Throw them out if you truly care about your health and performance or you will wonder why everything hurts and the hips, back and shoulders don’t work very well anymore. Opt in for shoes with a heel strap and you will be much better off.
Hope that helps, respect
FSW Coach Greg Mihovich
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