If you’re like many people, you can't wait to don the season’s favorite footwear — flip flops — when temps heat up. Flip flops may look stylish and keep your feet cool. But you may also notice more aches and pains in your feet during this time of year because wearing flip flops can cause or worsen numerous foot problems.
Here are some reasons why you should think twice about making flip flops your go-to shoe choice:
- Plantar fasciitis and arch pain: Your toes tend to over-grip when you wear flip flops because the thin straps don’t securely hold your shoes in place. This over-gripping, along with a lack of arch support, can lead to inflammation in the plantar fascia ligament along the bottom side of your foot. This is one of the most common — and painful — results of over-wearing flip flops.
- Heel pain: With no cushioning between your heel and the ground, flip flop wearers may find their heels aching after too much time spent walking around. That’s because your heel takes the brunt of the pressure with each step you take. If there’s no cushioning or shock absorption under that heel strike, pain results.
- Ankle sprains: Since flip flops don't provide much support for your feet, there's a higher likelihood that you'll misstep or trip and sprain your ankle or strain a ligament. Of course, tripping can cause a number of other injuries that aren't related to your feet as well.
- Other types of foot pain: Flip flops can exacerbate other types of foot pain, from bunions and hammertoes to tendonitis. Since your feet aren’t covered or well-protected, you’re also at greater risk for stubbed toes, cuts, insect bites and infection.
Flip flops are an acceptable shoe choice when heading to the beach or lounging by the pool. They are okay when worn in moderation and when you’re not walking too much. But if your feet are aching, it’s time to ditch the flip flops and make the switch to a more supportive shoe, such as a pair of sneakers.
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Date Last Reviewed: April 15, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor