Yes, we know they’re comfortable and so easy to slip on and off. They’re cool when the weather’s hot and let your feet breathe and feel free. At Paul S. DeMarco, DPM, however, we see many injuries and serious foot conditions that are a direct result of consistently wearing flip flops. Before you slip on a pair, consider the following possible dangers:
Plantar fasciitis—flip flops have zero arch support. That means your feet hit the ground flat with every step. Over time, this puts a strain on the plantar fascia, the long band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. When it becomes inflamed, plantar fasciitis develops. This condition can be debilitating as it makes walking extremely painful.
Cuts, scrapes and blisters—the most common issue with flip flops is that they do not provide any protection to your feet, leaving them completely exposed. Combine this with the fact that flip flops are difficult to keep on and you can see why scrapes and cuts on toes and feet are a frequent occurrence. Since most flip flops are made of rubber or vinyl, they also create friction with sweaty feet resulting in blisters.
Ankle sprains—without any structure to hold your feet in, there is an increased risk of tripping and twisting an ankle when walking, going down stairs or stepping off uneven surfaces. Even minor sprains can weaken the ligaments, making future sprains more likely. Continuing to wear flip flops after a sprain creates a cycle likely to end in weak and chronically unstable ankles.
Hammertoe—in order to keep flip flops on your feet you have to grip them with your toes. Constantly bending the toes into a hammer shape can start to deform them. This condition is called hammertoe. Over time, toes become rigid in this position causing pain to the foot and the tops of the toes as they rub up against footwear.
Stress fractures—because the soles of flip flops are so thin they provide no shock absorption between your foot and hard surfaces. Wearing flip flops on a regular basis puts repeated stress on the bones in the forefoot and greatly increases the chances of a stress fracture occurring in this part of the foot.
If you experience any pain or other symptoms of foot problems, contact at our Somers Point office so that our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco, can examine your feet and ankles and prescribe the correct treatment. Delaying treatment will only result in worsening of your foot condition.