Summer is right around the corner, and that means time to break out your flip-flops, bathing suit and sunscreen! But, according to some recent literature you might want to think twice before putting on your trusty pair of flip flops and heading out the door. Those carefree, cute, slip-on-and-go sandals might be seriously damaging your feet!
Breaks, Cuts and Bruises –Flip flops do not absorb as much shock when your heel strikes the ground, compared to more supportive shoes (e.g. tennis shoes). This type of trauma increases the likelihood of stress fractures over time. Sharp objects can also easily penetrate the rubber soles and potentially cut the bottom of your foot.
Hold on Tight! – The only thing keeping your foot in place in a flip flop is a small strip of fabric. This means your toes have to do most of the work to keep your foot in the sandal. This constant gripping motion can eventually lead to hammertoes and tendonitis.
Oh, Those Bones! – Overwearing flip flops does not only cause damage to your feet; it can affect your entire body. According to one study, people who overwear flip flops tend to take shorter steps and more commonly have ankle, knee and hip pain.
Of course this doesn’t mean that you have to throw away all of your flip flops. Like many things, moderation is the key. Wearing them for short periods of time is unlikely to cause any permanent damage and can even be beneficial, for example when walking on hot sand or through a locker room. The next time you go shopping for flip flops keep these tips in mind:
- Look for flip flops with a sturdy sole and built in arch support. The thicker the sole, the less likely an object will penetrate through the shoe and the more support your foot gets.
- Stay away from the one-size-fits-all. There shouldn’t be any part of your foot that hangs off the edge of the flip flop.
- Look for a sandal with thicker straps. The thicker the straps, the less gripping your toes have to do to keep your foot in the flip flop.
- Choose a hardier material. Look for a high-quality, soft leather sandal.
- Replace your flip flops every year. They are a breeding ground for bacteria and quickly lose their support.
If you or someone has foot issues, consider making an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. We want to make sure your feet are in the best shape before summer!