Now what do we do? Thongs condemned!

It was only a matter of time before some researcher somewhere came up with a reason to trash that veritable staple of any Aussie wardrobe, 'thongs' aka 'flip-flops'.

A study from the U.S. suggests that flip-flops are the cause of more health problems than any other type of shoes including high heels.

According to podiatrists at the American College of Sports Medicine walking in flip-flops can trigger aches and pains all over the body and can lead to sore feet, ankles and legs.

By examining the biomechanics of the flip-flop, the podiatrists found that wearing flip-flops made people alter their gait which can result in problems and pain from the foot up into the hips and lower back.

In a study led by Professor Wendi Weimer of Auburn University, 39 graduate men and women were asked to wear flip-flops and athletic shoes.

They were then asked to walk a platform that measured vertical force as their feet hit the ground and the action was filmed by a video camera which measured stride length and limb angles.

It was found that when the participants wore flip-flops they took shorter steps and their heels hit the ground with less vertical force than when they wore athletic shoes.

The researchers say when people wear flip-flops they don't raise their toes as much as the leg swings forward, possibly to avoid stubbing their toes.

The result is a larger angle to the ankle and a shorter stride length.

Experts say with flip-flops the major shock absorption occurs back on the heel, and if the surface between the heel and the ground is not supported it does not allow the heel to absorb shock as well as it should.

This means the foot works harder than it should and then people develop overuse injuries such as tendonitis, or lower leg, knee, hip and back problems.

The researchers say flip-flops should only be worn for short periods of time, as they are not designed to properly support the foot and ankle during all-day wear.

The findings were presented to the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Indianapolis.

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