If you’re like most of us, you have a good supply of flip flops in your closet. But wearing flip flops too often or too long can result in overuse injuries like heel pain, otherwise known as plantar fasciitis.
Flip flops certainly have their uses. They are great for wearing at the beach to protect your feet from hot sidewalks and sand. Flip flops also offer good protection from all types of bacterial and fungal infections that lie in wait at public places such as swimming pools, locker rooms and spas.
But for good foot health, limit wearing these flimsy sandals for protection only. They offer little in arch support and stability and can cause these overuse problems:
- Plantar fasciitis – as you walk or run, your heel strikes the ground with a considerable amount of force. A flimsy sandal like a flip flop offers very little cushioning. When the plantar fascia, a thick tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, is subjected to repeated stress, it becomes inflamed. The resulting plantar fasciitis causes heel pain that is usually worst when first arising in the morning.
- Achilles tendonitis – flip flops do not offer enough support, especially for those with flat feet or a smaller foot arch. Overuse injuries can result when the joints beginning at the feet and extending up through the body try to compensate. For example, Achilles tendonitis may develop in the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.
- Hammertoe – when you wear flip flops or other sandals that have few straps, your toes must work harder to keep the shoe on your foot. Hammertoe can result when you repeatedly curl your toes. This toe deformity is caused by a muscle and tendon imbalance that leaves your toes stiff, painful and bent.
Excessive wearing of flip flops can even cause injuries. You’ll take shorter steps, which can result in tripping accidents and sprained ankles. Never play sports in flip flops as they are designed only for use on flat surfaces. Tripping and sliding out of the flip flops can cause ligament injuries and fractures.
Please contact Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM if you have any type of foot pain. We can help with all kinds of foot and ankle problems and injuries. We caution you to save your flip flops for pool and beach fun and wear sturdier sandals during the summer months.
Let Us Know If We Can Help With Any Foot and Ankle Problem
Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist, has extensive experience with foot overuse injuries and can diagnose and treat all types of foot and ankle problems and sports injuries. Many treatments and surgeries can be addressed right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website.