Now that summer has unofficially started with Memorial Day past, we all look forward to wearing light clothes and sandals. If you’re like most parents, you know that your children love to wear the barest possible footwear – flip flops! These inexpensive sandals seem perfect for this time of year but take a few moments to learn how they can actually harm your child’s feet.
Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM admits that flip flops are a good way to protect small feet at public pools and locker rooms to avoid catching athlete’s foot and other fungi. But when children wear them all day long, they are at risk of foot problems because of the little support they offer and because of a greater risk of injury.
Wearing Flip Flops Brings Foot Problems
Limited support. Flip flops are basically a thin sheet of plastic with a thong to attach to the foot between the toes. They offer little in the way of support for a growing child’s foot and arch. When shopping for summer footwear, look for leather sandals that have firm and sturdy soles. The straps should secure the foot to the shoe across the foot as well as around the back of the heel.
Inadequate protection. Flip flops are flimsy and your child’s toes are vulnerable to falling objects, bruises and scrapes as well as being stepped on and injured. Older children who have more coordination may not need covering for the toes, but toddlers and youngsters should have sandals that cover over the toes and still offer ventilation for cooling.
Risk of tripping. Because flip flops are backless, they easily slip off during play and can cause your child to trip and suffer an injury like a sprained ankle.
Changing your child’s gait. To keep a flip flop or other backless sandal on properly, the toes of your foot must grab the sandal with each step. This type of gripping motion can actually cause your child to take shorter steps and strain the muscles in the legs and back.
Excessive wearing of flip flops can bring on serious foot problems including tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. Give your child a healthy start to summer with sturdy, protective sandals for everyday wear, and leave the flip flops for the pool!
We Can Help Resolve your Child’s Foot or Ankle Pain
If your child is suffering from any type of foot pain, please come see Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist as soon as possible. The problem may be due to wearing unsupportive or ill-fitting footwear or there may be an underlying cause that we will quickly diagnose. You can reach us at our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Don’t let poor footwear or any type of foot problem ruin your child’s summer – call us today!