The root of all foot problems
Posted Sunday, July 29 2012 at 01:00
August is traditionally the month of heat and with it come a plethora of flip-flops on the streets.
I loathe and detest flip-flops, named after that unattractive sound they make when you walk.
Yet almost every other woman I bump into, even in the chilly months of June and July, is wearing a pair.
Imagine my joy when I read the latest findings on flip-flop wearing. The US National Foot Health Assessment 2012 pretty much labelled flip-flops “the root of all foot problems.”
I don’t know about you, but I have noticed something very wrong with the gait that comes with wearing sandals.
Ideally, when wearing a good shoe, you step with your heel, roll the weight forward till it settles on ball of the foot and spreads to your toes.
It is a repeated, natural, graceful motion. With flip-flops, however, you have to grip the shoe with your toes, the weight is not evenly distributed and neither does it rest fully on your foot. Your walk changes dramatically.
The main reason I hate flip-flops is that lazy shuffle-drag-pretend walk that many women employ.
The heel of the flip flop hits the ground and is dragged noisily on the surface. It is a graceless shamble.
You also can’t hurry in flip-flops. In 2008, Auburn University (in the US) researchers discovered that in sandals, your strides are shorter, something which causes an imbalance in your body placement when walking, affecting your gait and eventually hip flexion and lower back.
Aside from that, the American Medical Podiatrists Association noted that during the summer, they get more visits because flip-flops, the favoured footwear when the sun is out, cause severe pain in the arch and heel region, leading to a condition called plantar fasciitis.
The toe-gripping leads to tendinitis.
Then, of course, there is the dirty feet element, with all sorts of grime and gunk attaching itself to your feet.
Nairobi women are special though; they favour flip-flops even in the June-July chill and in sloshy, rainy weather. It is a truly rare gift this.
Never mind that with flip-flops you will suffer far more extensive damage should you accidentally stub your toe.
This is not a call for the ban of flip-flops by any means. The main problem is that most people who wear flip-flops overwear them.
They are designed for the beach, soft surfaces (unlike the tarmacked, concrete jungle we live in), and to be worn for short periods of time.