Flip-Flops: Friend or Foe? Doctors Say Choose Sandals with Support!
July 30, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Flip flops are as much of a staple of summer as is backyard barbeques, fireworks, and weekends at the beach or pool. However, flip-flops can also mean walking around with foot pain because they can up the risk for foot nerve problems, plantar fasciitis, arch pain, cuts, and even broken toes, according to a recent press release issued by orthopedic specialists at the the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
So, what’s wrong with flip-flops? These doctors contend that they not only provide little or no support for the arches of the foot, but also provide no protection for exposed toes. The latter of which can lead to cuts, bacteria growth, and potentially causing an infection. The lack of shock absorption, the doctors say, can lead to pain in the legs, hips, and back, let alone the foot, when walking on for an extended period of time.
Sun damage is another potential issue of wearing flip-flops. Anyone wearing flip-flops should remember to apply adequate sunscreen to their feet to reduce their risk of developing skin cancer.
The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) offers some tips on flip-flops.
- Choose ones with high-quality leather construction to minimize the risk of blisters.
- Don’t wear flip-flops for long distance, because of their lack of support and shock absorption.
- Don’t wear flip-flops when doing yard work or playing sports.
- Avoid wearing flip-flops which you can fold in half (although bending at the ball of the foot is ok)
- Don’t wear the same flip-flops year-after-year, especially if they show signs of severe wear
- Ensure your toes don’t hang off the edge of the flip-flop
- Look for flips flops that contain the APMA seal of approval.
That said, many people are finding they have stronger feet when wearing shoes that mimic being barefoot. By spreading out the toes, like you do in the Vibram Five Fingers shoes, you gain greater control, along with improved balance and agility. Some say it improves their posture, and provides less back and hip pain.
It also may depend upon the foot. People who have high arches may need more support, while people with low arches may prefer walking with less support and more closely simulating walking barefoot.
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