Originally designed as shower shoes or to wear around the pool, flip-flops have become the full-time summer shoe of choice for many people. At Goldsmith Podiatry, however, we want to caution patients about the hazards of overuse of this popular style of footwear. The extremely minimal construction of traditional flip-flops leaves your feet open to several potential problems.
No arch support—this means in effect your feet sit flat on the shoe. Over time, this aggravates the plantar fascia (the long band of tissue on the bottom of your foot that stretches from your toes to your heel), resulting in plantar fasciitis and heel and/or arch pain.
Toe gripping—think about the way you keep flip-flops on your feet: you grip them with your toes. This action, repeated continually, can cause or exacerbate a toe deformity such as hammertoe or a bunion.
No cushioning—there’s very little between you and the pavement. That means with each step; your foot is hitting the ground hard. This can lead to foot pain or, in extreme cases, a stress fracture.
No sides or backs—with flip-flops, your foot is not held in place by the design of the shoe. If you try to run or move suddenly side to side (as in walking down a steep slope or playing a game of Frisbee) your foot is likely to be wrenched off the shoe resulting in an ankle sprain or another injury. No material surrounding your feet also increases the risk for cuts and bruises to your toes and feet.
If you’re an ardent flip-flop wearer and you notice your feet or heels are hurting or feel extremely fatigued, make an appointment at our Upper West Side office by calling: 212-877-1002. Our podiatrists, Dr. Howard Goldsmith or Dr. Rosanna Troia will examine your feet and track down the source of the pain. The foot doctor can also make recommendations for summer shoe styles and brands that have the proper support for your feet and are still easy to wear and attractive.