“Over time, toes that repeatedly grip can lead to tendonitis, which is painful and can lead to tears or ruptures of the tendon,” he says. “Over-wearing of flip flops can also lead to hammer toes and can also encourage bunion formation or make an existing bunion worse.”
Flip-flops also lack the arch needed to support a foot. This can lead to over-pronation (when the foot naturally rolls inward) or flattening of the arch. Constant friction is a motion that is very common with flip-flop wear which can lead to skin irritation. A study released by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), found that nearly one-fourth of women blamed their foot pain on flip flops.
Flip-flops can still have a place in summer footwear, but in a limited capacity and only if the wearer has no existing issues with their feet.
“Slipping on a pair of flip flops for a short distance will usually not cause any harm,” Dr. Ramig says. “If a person has a well-balanced foot – meaning their arch is not too low or too high – there is no problem wearing flip flops for low-impact activities, hanging out with friends or walking.”
Dr. Ramig offers this advice for individuals who want to make a wise choice in summer footwear:
Support: Choose a shoe that provides adequate arch support. A shoe that lacks support can cause a person's natural gait to change in a way that will bring harm to their body.
Stability: Look to see if the shoe has a strap that can help add stability to the heel. This type of stability will decrease the need for the toes to grip the shoe as one walks. A foot that is able to rest in a stable position allows natural movement while walking.
Material: Choose a sandal that is made with high-quality leather rather than rubber or plastic. Also, the thinner a shoe's sole, the more likely a person could experience injuries such as hairline stress fractures when worn during everyday activities.
For more information on summer footwear or to find a Premier Health Specialists physician near you, go online to www.premierhealthspecialists.org.