By Dr. Daniel Miller
June 25, 2012
Category: Shoe Selection

Along with the warm weather comes an increase in various foot conditions and flip-flop related injuries.  Although flip-flops may make your feet feel cool, they are not a good choice for your foot and ankle wellness.

Flip-flops, for the most part, provide no support to the feet and can lead to over-use injuries such as stress fracture of the metatarsals.  This is a condition in which repetitive stress to the metatarsal bones in the feet can cause a crack in the bone which occurs without injury, usually with normal activity.  This type of stress fracture can lead to having to wear a fracture boot for 4-6 weeks to allow for healing. 

Flip-flops can also increase the symptoms and pain of plantar fasciitis.  Due to the lack of support and stability there is an increase in stress and strain on the plantar fascia.  This lack of support to the feet also increases the risk of ankle injuries such as sprains and fractures. 

Flip-flops also leave the toes unprotected and can cause many injuries to the toes and toe nails.  Wearers of flip-flops will often scrape or stub their toe which can lead to a nail injury requiring the nail to be removed.  A toe fracture can also occur and, in some cases, a fracture shoe will be needed to alleviate pain. 

When choosing a shoe, if open toes are a must, please avoid the flimsy, cheap flip-flops.  Look for sandals that have support to them and an indented heel cup.  Straps to the sandals which can be tightened can also increase stability in the sandal as you walk.  Consider moderation for the use of your flip-flops, such as wearing them just to the pool or beach for short periods of time.  Please never play sports or mow the grass in your flip-flops.  Contact your podiatrist if problems do occur.

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