Flip-flops: Summertime Woes for your Toes

Are Flip Flops bad for your feet? University Foot and Ankle InstituteWho doesn’t love flip-flops? They come in a rainbow of fun colors and designs. They’re cheap, easy to slip on, and perfect for summer lounging.

But watch your step, beach baby! Your flip-flops could be causing major stress and injury to your feet.

Read on for some hot tips for wearing your flips!

Shoddy Shoes

Take a good look at your flip-flops. They’re made out of virtually nothing. Most flip-flops, especially the cheaper ones, are essentially a flat piece of rubber and a thong squeezed between your toes. You might as well have strapped a cereal box to your foot.

Without any protective outer covering, your flip-flopped feet could get cut or bruised by debris and other hazards. Have you ever stubbed your toe around the house? Now imagine doing it in public. While wearing a cute sun dress. It’s not pretty.

The skin on your feet, usually protected by socks and shoes, is more susceptible to sunburns than other tougher areas of your body. And the friction caused by the toe thong could irritate the skin and cause painful, ugly blisters.

Flimsy Flip Flops and Foot Pain

You might think that flip-flops are “easier” to wear just because you can step right into them, but in reality, your foot has to work a lot harder while striding. Ever notice how your toes involuntarily curl up as you’re walking in flops? Your muscles are straining to keep the shoes on your feet. This could create a muscle imbalance in your foot, possibly causing bunions or hammertoes.

That flat piece of rubber that makes the bottom of the “shoe”? It’s not supporting your foot at all, and you’re overworking your foot’s tendons and ligaments. What’s wrong with that, you might ask?

You could develop an over-use injury, like shin splints, tendonitis, or plantar fasciitis, and have to spend your summer off your feet. I’m sure many of us would love to lie around in a lounge chair and sip margaritas all summer, but these painful conditions are definitely not the relaxing vacation you’re looking for.

The Best Flip Flop: Tips for the Eager Flip-flopper

Do flip flops cause toe pain, University Foot and Ankle InstituteIf you simply must wear flip-flops, there are some ways you can minimize your risk of injury.

First, make sure you buy a flip flop that fits your foot. Your toe should not hang off the edge of the shoe; this could cause blisters.

Buy a higher-quality flip flop made from supportive materials. Birkenstock makes great sandals. So does Naot. Look for sandals that support your foot with a heel strap or a tongue – your foot won’t need to work so hard to stay in its shoe while walking.

Here’s an easy little test: If you can bend the sole of the flip flop in half, guess what? It’s probably not going to do any favors for your foot. You can ask your foot and ankle specialist to fit you for orthotics if your sandals have a removable foot bed.

Skip the flips if you’re going to do a lot of walking or heavy lifting.

Bad activities for flip-flops:
•    Hiking
•    Touring
•    Shopping
•    Biking

VERY BAD activities for flip flops:
•    Bowling
•    Yard work
•    Working with tools
•    Helping your friend Kimmy move into her new condo

Are flip flops bad for your feet, University Foot and Ankle InstituteGood activities for flip-flops:
•    Lounging at the pool
•    Walking across hot sand or a blacktop
•    Using a public shower (warts = gross)

Be safe and smart when buying and wearing your flip flops. Have fun, and wear sunscreen!

For more information on proper foot gear, we encourage you to call us at (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.

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