6 risks of wearing slippers

By Floor Tuinstra

6 risks of wearing slippers

The 6 risks of wearing slippers or slip-on shoes

A good friend of ours walked down the stairs this week in his slippers with a bag of his cat's waste in his hand. Suddenly he had fallen all over the stairs. His wife said his buttocks were black and there was a step engraved on his back. He said afterwards 'I wore the wrong shoes and was in too much of a hurry'.

Try to imagine how a shoe stays on a foot.
The top part of a shoe (the part that goes over your toes) is a connecting tool to attach the bottom of your shoe to your foot. If the top becomes smaller or disappears, such as with slippers and slip-on sandals, the connection also disappears. This gives your foot the responsibility to keep the shoe on your foot.

Shoes without tops or correct heel support, such as slippers, slippers, clogs, slip-on sandals and therefore also Birkenstocks and fit flops, demand quite a bit from your feet and toes.

What risks does wearing slippers entail and what can you do to prevent this?

1. Grasping reflex of the toes leads to hammer toes

With slippers, clogs and slip-on sandals, a gripping action is expected from your toes to keep the shoe on your foot. This prevents your toes from slipping off while walking. This gripping movement of the toes ensures that, with frequent repetition, the toes can deform into the position of a hammer toe. Also called a claw toe, it resembles a curved toe that slides closer to the ball of the foot. Pressure points can often also appear on the toes themselves because once in that position they experience a lot of friction in the shoe.
Try walking with your toes completely relaxed and without straining in your favorite slippers. That is almost impossible because the grasping reflex is so strong that it happens almost automatically.

2. Wearing slippers can lead to heel spurs

Heel spurs are calcium deposits on the heel bone due to consistent stress. This is usually associated with long periods of walking or standing in shoes without proper support, slippers.

3. Wearing slippers can lead to lower back pain

Slippers allow you to take shorter steps than most other shoes. This also shortens your calf muscles. In addition, in addition to tendons at the front of your leg, you also tighten your calf. This in turn can lead to lower back problems.

4. Slippers can cause blisters, which can lead to an altered walking pattern

The constant contact and friction along the straps can lead to bruising and blister formation. This usually happens when you wear ill-fitting slippers and can further affect your running style and posture. Usually you only experience pain where the blisters or chafed areas occur. But the effect of blisters and areas of friction can lead to a change in gait.

5. Slippers mess up your posture

After a while your toes get tired and you start walking in a duck stance. This causes your abductors to behave like hamstrings and your glutes to weaken (atrophy). Weakened gluteal muscles lead to all kinds of problems, injuries, operations, painful joints, clumsiness, and an increased risk of falling (you may not notice this when you are young, but you will certainly pay the price back when you get older). An hour at the gym really won't help if you spend the rest of the day in slippers. Any super flat shoe that doesn't flex the way your foot does changes your biomechanics and affects your posture.

6. Slippers cause neck pain and headaches

If you have hammertoes and wear slippers, you continue to train your toes in the grasping reflex.
This places extra stress on joints, more pressure on bones and deformation of tissue. Not only in your toes but also further down your body. For example, your posterior neck muscles are encouraged to work harder. This can lead to neck complaints such as neck pain, which in turn leads to headaches.

Neck pain, headache and hammertoes caused by wearing slippers

The result of slippers on the western reflex zones on your feet

With most slippers your toes work too much overtime. From a reflexology point of view, your toes correspond to a number of reflex zones; the head, your neck, the teeth, eyes, ears, brain, your sinuses (cavities), nose and throat. But your neck and shoulder girdle reflex zones are also stressed when wearing slippers. As a result, wearing slippers can also have an indirect effect on these areas of your body.

The result of slippers on the meridians

The meridians that run along your feet and legs are all tensed when you wear slippers. In particular the Jing well points: spleen 1, liver 1, stomach 45, gallbladder 45, bladder 67 and kidney 1. They are the origin and roots of Qi and Blood that flows through the meridians. It goes too far to discuss this in detail. But what many of these points have in common is that they can release quite a bit in the other extreme of our body, the head and neck. Think of worry, stress, depression (spleen), headache, eye pain, pain in the sinuses (bladder), insomnia with nightmares, problems with the sensory organs such as a stiff tongue, speech problems (gall bladder), pain in the teeth, sore throat, facial pain, irritations and/or insomnia combined with excessive dreaming (stomach), chronic sore throat, dry mouth and also lower back pain (kidney). It is therefore important to give your toes a rest.

How can you relax your toes and lower legs?

There are a number of things you can pay attention to to relax the muscles in your toes and ensure that the grasp reflex is not constantly activated and to relieve the pressure on your hammer toes, causing less friction.

    1. To lower your heel height, wear shoes with a lower heel or even better, without a heel height. This puts less pressure on your toes.
    2. Open shoes with a strap around the heel. Make sure you wear shoes with a strap around the heel for support. See the next section for more information.
    3. Pay attention to the position of your pelvis. The wrong footwear can cause your pelvis to tilt forward, putting more pressure on your toes. By paying attention to the position of your pelvis, you can reduce the pressure on your toes.
    4. Book a foot reflexology massage for yourself and ask your foot reflexologist for extra attention for the toes. A foot reflexology massage can provide a lot of relaxation to your toes, but can also have a further effect on your body mentally and physically.
    5. Lengthen your calf muscles and prevent lower back pain, headaches and more with the calf stretch .
    6. Throw your slippers in the trash.

Which slippers prevent neck pain, headaches, lower back pain and hammer toes?

What can you pay attention to when purchasing a new pair of slippers to prevent complaints?

Heel support

If you are about to purchase new slippers, make sure they have heel support. This means that there is a strap behind the heel. This means your toes have to make much less effort because the shoe stays on the foot better.

A flexible sole that you can bend

Also note that the sole of the slippers bends. You should be able to roll up and bend the sole completely.

No heel

Buy a pair of slippers without a heel and preferably not with a smooth sole but one with some profile on it.

Shrover, J. F., & Weimar, W. H. (2010, July). Comparative analysis of human gait while wearing thong-style flip-flops versus sneakers.. Retrieved August 26, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20660875
Bowman, K. (2016). The Foot Gym. In K. Bowman (Ed.), Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief, The new Science of Healthy Feet. Dallas, Texas, USA: BenBella, Inc..
Yin Yang House Inc. (nd). Jing Well Acupuncture Points – Five Shu – TCM Theory. Retrieved September 9, 2018, from https://theory.yinyanghouse.com/acupuncturepoints/theory_fiveshu/jing_well_points