Whether you consider Memorial Day to mark the start of summer or you hold off until it officially turns in late June, almost one thing is for certain:  flip-flops season is now in full swing. While this lightweight form of footwear can have you feeling footloose and fancy-free, there are potential repercussions on the horizon by sporting the open-backed staple of summer.


First, let’s talk about what is supposed to happen to your foot when you walk. In a very elementary sense, when you rock forward over your foot while it is planted to the ground, your toes are supposed to be allowed to stay flat to the ground (extend) while the longer bones of your foot (metatarsals) will point down (plantarflex) as your heel lifts off the ground.

However, when you wear an open-backed shoe, such as flip-flops, your toes have to claw or grab at the shoe in order for it to stay on your foot. Unfortunately, this is often happening when your toes are supposed to be straight.

Because your toes are flexed (bent) when they are supposed to be extended (straight), your metatarsals are unable to plantarflex.  This disrupts the ability of your foot to become a rigid lever by which to propel yourself forward through gait.  Ultimately, this may lead to different types of bone growths as well as other orthopedic issues as your body tries to compensate for the stresses being placed upon it.

So, is this post trying to get you to throw out all of your beloved flip-flops and other open-backed shoes?  Not exactly.  But it is trying to educate you on the potential consequences of regularly wearing the season’s most common form of footwear.

If you feel the need to consistently wear your flip-flops, at the very least try to ensure that your feet are well-supported by your muscles by scheduling yourself for a tune-up with your local Muscle Activation Techniques™ specialist.  While having all of your muscles working optimally won’t alter the need to grab onto your flip-flops with your toes, it will help to make sure those issues aren’t compounded.  It will give your feet the best chance possible to work as ideally as they can once you remove the open-backed shoe.

Are your feet (and ankles and knees and hips and spine) ready to rock your flip-flops all summer?  Your local personal training and Muscle Activation Techniques™ specialists in Schaumburg can help 🙂

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Charlie Cates

Charlie Cates is the leading consultant to high-level professional, college, & high school basketball players in the Chicagoland area for injury prevention, recovery, & muscle performance. As a certified Muscle Activation Techniques® MATRx practitioner & former college basketball player, he uses his personal experience & understanding of the game & player demands to create customized exercise options for his clients to recover faster & perform their best. He is certified in the highest levels of MAT®, including MATRx, MATRx Stim, and MAT® Athlete. Follow him on Instagram @CharlieCates!

1 Comment

Sheena · July 12, 2016 at 7:21 pm

Awesome article with excellent information!

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