Enough with the Frickin’ Flip Flops Already!

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You would not believe the number of students I see at the Student Health center complaining of foot, ankle and back pain that I can diagnose before I even walk in the exam room.  Do I have ESP?  X-ray vision?  Super Medical Spidey Sense?  No.  I hear the pitter patter of their feet walking down the hall and I know exactly what the problem is.  Two words… two cute, tiny, terrible words… Flip. Flops.

I hate flip-flops.  Hate ‘em!  Yes, they’re affordable.  Yes, you can get them in any color to match any outfit.  Yes, they’re fashionable and look cool with jeans that are 6 inches too long.  But they are terrible for you!  Terrible!

Flip-flops offer no arch support (yeah, I know Crocs and some other more expensive brands say they do, but I’m not buying it).  They don’t have the heel cushion or shock absorption that normal shoes do.  They may be fine when you’re running around on the beach or popping out to the store, but when you wear them all day, every day – especially when you’re hiking around campus with a 40-pound backpack – you’re setting yourself up for some serious pain: stubbed toes and blisters from cheap plastic, sprained ankles, broken toes, heel pain from plantar fasciitis, leg pain and low back pain.

I know you won’t listen to me – I’ve seen students walking on the oval in flip flops with a foot of snow on the ground! – but at least try to wear them in moderation.  Give your feet and back a break and throw on some sneakers every once in a while.

Angela Walker, Med IV (OSU COM)

John A. Vaughn, MD (OSU SHS)

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