With summer now upon us and the weather heating up, we all love to spend our days in thongs. These summer time essentials might be okay for the short walks to the pool or beach but the poor biomechanics and lack of support provided by the traditional thong are associated with gait alterations that can lead to pain. As healthcare professionals we see many patients over the summer months presenting to us with foot, ankle, knee, hip and low back injuries that have resulted from living in the Aussie thong for months!
Most thongs have a flat sole that provides very little arch and heel support. This can be a problem for those with a high amount of pronation in their feet (flat feet). Pronation occurs when the foot falls in during the weight bearing component of walking and this increased roll can continue up through the lower limb. This alters the way stresses are absorbed through the body and can create injury to not only the foot, but also the knee hip or back.
The most common injuries caused by this lack of stability are plantar-fasciitis (pain through the sole/heel of the foot) and achilles tendinopathy (pain through the back of the heel/ankle). The thin sole of the traditional thong provides very little shock absorption and as such is associated with higher pressures being transferred through the foot. This can lead to an increase in conditions such as metatarsalgia (pain on the ball of the foot) or fat pad inflammation (pain on the heel). Those spending a large amount of time in flip flops will also increase their chance of suffering from overuse injury and pain through the lower leg. In order to keep the thong on your foot when walking you must shorten your stride length and excessively grip with your toes. The foot and lower leg are working a lot harder and this places a lot of stress on the muscles in the lower leg, which is often causes shin splints.
The large number of injuries occurring through the use of the more traditional flipflops lead to the development of Archies Thongs! Archies Thongs are orthopaedic thongs that have been specifically designed to correct the sort falls in the traditional thong by providing the wearer with optimal foot position and comfort. The unique sole of the thong provides the same amount of support to that of a typical orthotic and includes a raised heel. This dramatically reduces the load placed on the muscles and tendons of the foot and reduces the instances of plantar-fasciitis and achilles tendinopathy. It’s especially great for those with flat feet as it provides the extra support required for stronger foot mechanics and reduces the transfer of stress up the leg.
The tighter strapping on the top of the thong is better able to hold your thong on while walking thus allowing for a greater stride length and reducing the need for your toes to grip on. As a result, the muscles of the lower leg are working less and the chance of an overuse injury and shin pain is reduced. The comfy, cushy sole of the Archie Thong is made from a highly specialised foam material that will also absorb forces better than the more traditional variety and can limit pain through the ball and heel of the foot. This improved design allows Archies thongs to be worn on longer walks, to social occasions or even just to wear around the house as an alternative to orthotics.
With the added bonus of an aesthetically pleasing look, Archies Thongs are fast becoming the thong of choice for many athletes and are highly recommended by a large number of healthcare practitioners. These delightful summer necessities are only $35 a pair and come in a range colours including: black, white, navy, coral, mint and sky. They are now available for purchase at Beyond and are the perfect addition to your Christmas stocking so why not pick a pair to help you or a loved one MOVE THROUGH SUMMER!