They’re so easy to wear—just slip them on and off you go. In flip-flops your feet feel so free, as if there’s hardly anything there and that’s the problem! There isn’t. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we know many of our patients love flip-flops and wear them nearly every day but unfortunately, it’s a shoe choice that can leave your feet vulnerable to injury and result in serious foot problems. Here’s why:
Increased Risk of Injury—let’s start with the obvious: flip-flops provide very little protection for your feet. Since they are so exposed, your toes are not shielded from getting stubbed and cuts can happen when your foot slides off the shoe. In addition, because there are no sides to hold your foot in place, flip-flop wearers are more likely to sprain an ankle.
Toe Stress—think about the motion required to keep flip-flops on. Your toes are constantly gripping the front of the flip-flop. With extended use, the strain to the toes can cause tendonitis and toe deformities such as hammertoe and bunions.
The Fracture Factor—with literally no cushioning, flip-flops offer zero shock absorption as you walk. The repetitive pounding on the bottom of your foot and lack of arch support can result in stress fractures, heel pain and plantar fasciitis. You may also find that you experience pain in your ankles, knees, hip and back because of the altered gait that comes about with prolonged flip-flop use.
Finding a Better Flip-Flop
Due to the popularity of this type of footwear, some manufacturers have begun to make shoes that offer the easy style of flip-flops but with an eye to lessening the damage to your feet. If you are frequent flip-flop wearer, look for the following
- A built-up centerpiece for arch support
- Flip-flops made of leather instead of plastic or vinyl to reduce blisters
- More substance—if you can bend a flip-flop completely in half it does not have enough cushioning or support
- A back strap
If you’ve been wearing flip-flops as your go-to shoes for a long time now and are experiencing pain in your ankle, toes, heel or forefoot, make an appointment at our Long Beach office by calling: (562) 420-9800. Our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley or Dr. Constance Omelas will examine your feet and make specific recommendations about shoe choices that will be the healthiest for your feet.