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Problems Caused by Flip-Flops and How to Avoid Them

Woman Wearing Flip-Flops
Flip-flops may be easy to wear, but they can wreak havoc on your feet and back. Not only can they cause you to fall if they twist on your feet, but they can also cause long-term health issues such as leg pain, back and pelvic alignment problems, and headaches due to poor support and bad posture. Wearing flip-flops everyday not only causes pain but can slow you down and cost you money.

Preventable Foot Problems

Wearing flip-flops every day is akin to going barefoot, unless you buy quality flip-flops that adhere to the AMPA's Seal of Acceptance for good foot health. Often flip-flops don't fit correctly and have toe thongs that rub inner toes raw, subjecting them to blisters. Once blisters burst into an open foot wound, bacteria can seep in, causing a painful and often difficult-to-treat infection.
You can easily pick up bacteria from everyday tasks when you wear flip-flops. For instance, if you wear your flip-flops outdoors to pick up after your pet, fecal bacteria left in the grass can hitch a ride on your feet as you shuffle through your lawn. Harmful bacteria can be picked up anywhere, even from shopping at your local grocery store.
Speaking of shuffling, flip-flops aren't easy to keep on your feet. They cause you to use unnaturally use your toes to keep them from flying off and twisting as you walk. After time, you can develop bunions and hammertoes. If you have painful toes, you may need surgery to straighten them as you might struggle to change to closed-toe shoes.
Unnaturally using your toes to keep a shoe from flipping, flopping, and falling off your foot can stress and stretch that thick band of tissue connecting your heel to your toes called the fascia. Plantar fasciitis, a painful foot condition, can result. Plantar fasciitis is a common foot ailment, especially for athletes or if you're overweight.
Inexpensive flip-flops may be easy to slip on your feet if you have back or weight issues that make it tough to bend. But the cost to your foot health can outweigh the cost savings over time.

Some Common Sense Do's and Don'ts

Save your flip-flops for occasional wear at a beach, swimming pool, hotel, or locker room shower. Don't wear flip-flops daily or for long periods of time. Don't wear them to mow your lawn or use yard tools. Never play sports in flip-flops. You risk back injury, foot injury, and twisted or broken ankles.
Don't let young children and teens wear cheap flip-flops. These shoes may be easy to pack and easy to wear, but they also cause foot pain in age groups that normally don't have to worry much about foot issues, especially those in their late teens and early twenties.
Don't wear flip flips to walk around for a day of shopping, unless you buy quality flip-flops or sandals. There's no real shock absorption as flip-flop soles tend to be thin and flimsy, offering little to no arch support.
Do buy quality flip-flops if you must wear them. Some flip-flops are designed more like sandals that help prevent foot issues like plantar fasciitis. Choose cloth or soft leather flip-flops over cheap plastic that you can pick up for a couple dollars at the store.
Ditch your flip-flops if you've had them for a few months and they're showing signs of wear. If you're already prone to foot problems, you'll see that parts of your flip-flop have worn down more quickly than others. This is a sure sign that they belong in the trash.
Support your feet and they will support you for a lifetime. Come to Instride Family Foot & Ankle Center if you experience any troubling foot pain.