Flip Flops: Why You Shouldn’t Wear Them
We know – the weather is getting warmer and you can hardly resist the urge to break out those flip-flops. They are, after all, the truest sign of summer.
Indeed, as the temperature rises, most of us will be staying cool by slipping on a pair of our favorite flip-flops. They are easy, affordable, and even stylish!
But, unfortunately, the truth is wearing flip-flops can lead to many annoying foot conditions, including cuts and abrasions, broken toes, and painful sprains. Not to mention that there are problems that come with the abrupt change from wearing well-supported footwear to open-toed shoes. And if you already have a health condition like diabetes, flip-flops might even cause extremely serious issues!
But Are Flip Flops Really That Bad?
They are – flip-flops may be fine to wear whenever walking through the beach, but you should never make them your first option for summer footwear.
Don’t believe us? Well, here are a few reasons why you should reserve your flip-flops for the beach, pool, spa, or public showers (and keep your feet out of them, otherwise):
- They leave your feet exposed to harmful bacteria. Now, how your feet will react to the bacteria they will be exposed to will greatly depend on whether you have any open cuts or wounds. These include anything from micro-wounds (like those you may experience from exfoliation during a pedicure) to actual cuts or sores. Your overall state of health is also something to take into consideration – if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, then you will likely be more affected then someone who is in good health.
Nonetheless, whenever you wear flip-flops, athlete’s foot, fungal nails, and other skin and nail infections all have free access to wreak havoc on your feet. And the same goes for the virus that causes warts, human papillomavirus (HPV).
- They can cause painful heel conditions. This should come as no surprise since our heels hit the ground first with each and every step we take. And whenever you are wearing flimsy flip-flops, this will accentuate the heel-strike impact, which could end up causing heel pain. This is especially true if you stand or walk in them for long periods of time.
- They can cause painful blisters.Often, flip-flop straps will rub up against your skin every time you take a step, and this can easily cause irritation and blisters. What’s more, when blisters pop, you are then left with an open wound which leaves your body vulnerable to the pathogens you pick up anytime your feet are exposed.
- They can permanently damage your toes. Whenever you wear flip-flops, your toes have to work hard just to keep them on your feet. Often, the toes will bend inwards, pulling on the sole to keep it in place, and this can cause imbalances in muscles, tendons, or ligaments in your feet over time. The result is a toe that has an abnormal bend in the middle joint, usually in the second, third, or fourth toe (a condition known as hammertoe).
- They can change the way you walk. Flip-flops are usually extremely flat and don’t bend quite like your foot does when walking barefoot, and this can end up altering your biomechanics and affect your overall posture.
In fact, studies have found that flip-flops can actually change the way you walk – sometimes even permanently. These changes can cause serious problems for the rest of the body, from how your ankles, knees and hips are aligned, to how you stand, walk, and run. Misaligned joints and bones will lead to painful conditions not only in your feet but also further up the body.
- They make bunions worse. We already mentioned that when wearing flip-flops your toes have to work harder to keep them in place, potentially causing hammertoes. Well, aside from permanently damaging your toes, over-gripping can also aggravate an already existing bunion.
- They can lead to overuse injuries. Most flip-flops have little-to-no arch support, which could mean bad news for those of you suffering from flat feet. Without proper support, your knees, hips, and back will be out of alignment, and this may lead to some painful overuse injuries.
So What Footwear Should You Wear?
When choosing footwear for summer or vacation, it is important to follow these guidelines for healthy feet:
- Go for shoes that are lightweight and well-ventilated
- Always wear shoes that provide enough arch support and cushioning for your heels
- Make sure the toe box has plenty of room to allow your toes to move freely
- Have an extra pair of shoes and alternate between them daily so that each pair has a chance to dry out completely
- Wear socks that are made of moisture-wicking materials
- Change your socks at least once a day, or more often if they become damp
Now, this doesn’t mean you are doomed to stuffing your feet in closed shoes everywhere you go this summer! Though reducing how often you wear flip-flops when you’re out of the house is definitely recommended, if you want something convenient to wear when you’re going to the beach, flip-flops will probably be at the top of your list – and that’s okay.
But if you’re going to be walking longer distances, make sure you wear shoes and insoles that can provide better support and protection.
Need Help? We Are Here for You!
The bottom line is flip-flops are very popular and it’s unlikely that you will stop wearing them completely. And if you ever stumble into problems while wearing them, or if you develop any painful symptoms for any other reason, you can count on us to help get your feet back on track.
All you have to do is give us a call at our office located most conveniently to you:
- McPherson Office – (620) 241-3313
- Lindsborg Office – (785) 227-2911
- Hillsboro Office – (620) 947-3114
You can also take advantage of our request form online to have one of our staff members reach out to you.