As the warm months approach, many of us want to get out of our stuffy shoes and socks and enjoy our sandals. This is a great idea, and sandals are a fine option if they offer support and cushioning to the feet. However, flip flops pose many dangers to the feet, as they offer no support. Some podiatric studies have found that they can be as bad or worse than going barefoot due to the amount of pressure that the foot gets when wearing them. Interestingly, our toes often grab the bottoms of the flip flops to keep them on when walking. This can worsen toe deformities such as hammer toes but can also cause irritation of the surrounding areas like the plantar plate, capsules, and nerves
going to and around our toes.
Flip flops lead to many dangers during the warm months of the year. First, they offer no support of the arch or the rearfoot (heel). This can lead to tendon pain (tendonitis), muscle soreness (myositis), or heel and arch pain (typically, plantar fasciiits) because the foot is not properly supported. Second, because of the lack of support and
stability, people are more prone to twisting the foot or ankle when wearing flip flops. This leads to ankle sprains and even fractures, or broken bones.
Finally, flip flops can get caught under our feet or objects (playground equipment, etc), and this can lead to cuts, sores, lacerations, and serious
injuries to the skin and underlying structures.
Therefore, when buying spring and summer shoes, it is important to make smart choices. Look for a
supportive sandal that you cannot bend or twist. There should be some cushioning and support for the arch on the bottom. Additionally, straps that do not allow the foot to move around when walking are essential for support. Finally, it is important to make sure that none of the areas are rubbing on the foot and causing irritation.
Dr. Bender is a podiatrist for Advanced Physical Medicine and practices at the Oak Park and Chicago/63rd locations. She
loves helping people make good choices for their feet! Dr. Bender has been in practice since 2001, when she finished her podiatric residency at North Chicago VA, St. Joesph Hospital, and St. Anthony Hospital. To schedule your appointment with her, call 708-763-0580 or 773-776-3166.