In warm and hot weather, it’s hard to resist the urge to break out your flip-flops, the truest sign of summer. Flip flops are often a popular choice of footwear for many people as summer approaches. They allow your feet to breathe and give your toes the freedom of movement. Flip flops are convenient and easy to slip on and off. In addition, they can be worn with virtually a multitude of various outfits. Flip flops, however, despite their many benefits, can be detrimental for your foot health and can lead to tremendous amount of stress on the body.
The feet are the body’s main shock absorbing system, and our feet naturally turn in; (pronate) during the gait cycle, but when we walk with flip flops we pronate for a longer period of time which then alters the biomechanics and distribution of pressure and weight across the foot and can exacerbate knee, hip and low back pain.
This imbalance in the body may increase the progression of underlying foot deformities, such as bunions, heel/arch pain, hammertoes, shin splints and Achilles tendonitis. Flip-flops can also create short to long term issues as well, such as ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, blisters and even fracture. For example, if the tip of the flip-flop on the non-supporting swing leg catches the ground or an object drops on a person’s foot, it often results in a blunt trauma to a toe, a torn nail bed or toe fracture.
Flips flops not only can make our bodies feel sore after a long day of wearing unsupportive shoes but can also expose your feet to bacteria, viruses, and fungal infections. Flip flops do not provide any protection to your feet, especially when you have opens wounds or cuts to your feet; bacteria such as staphylococcus could get deep into your skin and causes skin infection and worst case scenario can lead to amputation for those with severe cases. In addition, you could easily pick up highly contagious fungal infection (Athlete’s foot), or even viruses that cause warts, human papillomavirus (HPV). So treat your feet better during warm and hot seasons with a durable supportive shoe to absorb shock, arch support, and coverage at the front of the foot to keep those toes locked down. Your body will thank you.
Christine Nguyen D.P.M. OakBend Medical Group
Disclaimer: The contents of this article, including text and images, are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a medical service. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.