Spring is here and temperatures are warming up quickly. With the warm temperatures, we are seeing an early appearance of spring clothing. A favorite type of footwear for many in the spring and summer are flip-flops. Although they look cute and comfortable, they are not a good choice for daily footwear.
Carol, a physical therapist at our Damascus location, advises flip-flops are fine on occasion for the pool or beach, but should be avoided for daily wear. She recommends shoes with more arch, heel and ankle support for all-day activities.
Overuse of unsupportive footwear such as flip-flops can lead to a number of foot and ankle problems including hammer toes, plantar fasciitis and ankle sprains. Gripping of the toes causes a shorter stride and shuffling of the feet. This can cause improper force transfers to the knees, hips and back causing pain. Thin soled flip-flops can make the problems worse by aggravating existing sources of strain on the legs, feet and back.
The lack of arch support in flip-flops is problematic as well. Without proper support for the arches, the foot rolls inward with walking causing strain on the ligaments of the foot and ankle. This type of footwear also lacks support and cushion for the heel. Prolonged wear can put strain on the Achilles tendon and the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot and can lead to a painful condition called plantar fasciitis which can take months to resolve. Ankle sprains and falls are more prevalent with flip-flops as well due to the lack of heel and ankle support.
So, if you are planning a day of fun at the beach or pool, then flip-flops are fine. Otherwise, leave the flip-flops at home and choose a better summer shoe for your day. Look for sandals with arch support, a rigid sole and a heel cup or heel strap to stabilize your foot and prevent injury. If you are going to be on your feet all-day, a fully supportive shoe that absorbs shock, such as running or walking shoe, is your best choice.