Are Flip-Flops Harming Your Feet?


Flip-flops are the favorite shoes of many patients. At Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle, however, we see many foot problems that are the result of overuse of this popular summer shoe style. Although flip-flops are good for preventing athlete’s foot and other fungal infections while you are at the pool, they should be worn sparingly at other times. Below are some foot disorders that may occur if you choose to wear flip-flops daily.

Plantar Fasciitis—traditional flip-flops have no arch support. Long hours spent in this type of footwear puts a strain on the plantar fascia—the long band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. Over time, patients with this condition will experience arch and heel pain that can make walking incredibly painful.

Ankle Sprains and Other Injuries—with no backs or sides, there’s nothing to keep your foot securely in place. That’s why a large number of ankle sprains happen when people are wearing flip-flops. Never play active games like Frisbee, softball or volleyball in flip-flops and don’t wear them for long walks or hike. There’s an increased risk of cuts, scrapes, and other injuries to toes, feet, and heels due to the complete lack of coverage these shoes provide.

Toe Deformities—think about how flip-flops stay on your feet. It’s the gripping action of your toes that keep these shoes on. With each step, your toes have to contract on the front of the shoe. This can increase the risk of toe troubles like a hammertoe, claw toe, and bunions.

Stress Fractures—lack of cushioning on the sole of flip-flops means there is very little if any shock absorption as you walk. Each step causes repetitive stress on the bones of your feet. Over time, a stress fracture can develop.

If you’ve noticed a correlation between flip-flops and foot pain make an appointment at our Spring Hill (352 683-5799) or Hudson (727-868-2128) office so that our podiatrist, Dr. Lawrence J. Kales, can examine your feet and see if any damage has been done. There are some brands of flip-flops that have been designed to address the deficits of traditional flip-flops. Ask the foot doctor for recommendations of easy-to-wear summer shoes that won’t harm your feet.