For many people, summer means breaking out the swimming suits, wearing sandals or flip-flops, and heading out to the pool with family and friends. However, many people do not think twice before putting on their flip-flops, and how they can affect your feet. You might have heard athletes, doctors, or family members say that not all shoes are created equal – that saying is true for flip-flops as well. So, before you begin putting on your flip-flops to enjoy your summer fun, let’s take a closer look at how flip-flops can affect your foot health, and some recommendations for properly caring for your feet while wearing them.
When we go shopping, we might see flip-flops as being a comforting shoe for just lounging around the house, showing off the new pedicure, everyday walking, or for enjoying the sunny weather. However, flip-flops can affect your feet in a negative way when worn excessively.
Since flip-flips are open to the air, it puts your feet at risk for cuts, bruises, rolled ankles, and breaks if something drops on them. Flip-flops are also very loose when you wear them since they are strapped to your feet by a small strip across your feet, or thong between your first and second toes. This can allow the flip-flop to glide back-and-forth along various parts of your feet, causing blisters, corns, calluses, and ankle instability.
The stability in flip-flops is also not ideal as compared with other types of footwear. Part of the reason they lack stability is due to the absence of proper arch support. This can cause you to mimic the motion as if you are walking barefoot on the ground. With enough force and steps taken in your flip-flops, they will eventually wear out, and potentially cause foot pain.
Benefits of Flip-Flops
On the plus side, there are a few benefits for wearing flip-flops. People who already have bunions – wearing flip-flops can help relieve the pressure being applied to their big toe (or little toe) and help minimize any pain. Individuals who suffer from stinky feet (bromohidrosis) – by wearing flip-flops, it allows your feet to breathe, and prevent excessive sweat accumulation in your socks/shoes.
Advice for Wearing Flip-Flops
The good news is you do not need to throw away your flip-flops and can still enjoy them this summer. However, we want to give you some advice for purchasing proper flip-flops, as well as what you should avoid when wearing them. It is important not to continually reuse old flip-flops since they do wear down and make your feet more prone to injuries. It is not advised to engage in activities such athletics or hiking since flip-flops do not provide the stability or protection from accidental injuries (cuts, sprains, breaks, etc.). Lastly, when choosing which pair of flip-flops, it is important to make sure the ones you buy fit your feet comfortably. They should not hang off the edge or fit too tightly around your foot; this can increase the risk of injuries to your toes or irritate your feet and cause blisters. Another important factor to consider is the quality of material the flip-flops are made of; leather is ideal since it will help with reducing the irritation of your foot and developing blisters or rashes.
If you have questions or concerns about wearing flip-flops and your foot health, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona, and have all your treatment options presented to you to ensure you continue to maintain happy, healthy feet for this summer.