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Are Your Flip-Flops Causing Damage?

Written by Courteney

Posted on July 16, 2016 at 1:18 am


Convenience paired with colorful fun designs – who wouldn’t love flip-flops? They may be a beloved summer accessory, but unfortunately flip flops may be hurting frequent wearers in multiple ways. Wearing flip-flops occasionally shouldn’t cause too many issues, but many people wear them day-in and day-out during the summer months, which can lead to all kinds of trouble.

  1. Plantar fasciitis

Because flip-flops alter your natural gait and offer little in the way of shock absorption or heel support, your foot must stretch farther with each stride. This can lead to sprain and strain of the ligaments that run along the bottom of the foot causing plantar fasciitis (an extremely painful and temporarily disabling condition). It occurs when the plantar fascia, a long band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, becomes inflamed due to excessive stretching or strain, which can lead to the inability to bear weight on the affected foot until the condition gets better.

  1. Bacterial infection

Because the entire foot is exposed, flip-flop wearers have increased chances of contracting a bacterial infection of the foot. Not only because minor wounds can become infected, but studies show flip-flop wearers come in contact with harmful bacteria much more often than those with more protective footwear. One New York study found over 18,000 bacteria on a subject’s flip-flops after a 4-day walking trip around the city. Among those bacteria was the potentially fatal Staphylococcus aureus! If that gets into a small cut or wound, the results could be deadly.

  1. Ankle, knee and hip pain

If you have fallen arches or a tendency toward flatter feet, wearing flat shoes that offer no support such as standard flip-flops can adversely affect your ankles, knees and hips. Aside from those with weak arches, anyone can sustain a rolled ankle or knee much easier in flip-flops than protective footwear such as sneakers.

  1. Tendonitis

Among other types of tendonitis that can occur with prolonged wearing of flip-slops, peroneal tendonitis (the tendons that run along the outside and inside of the ankle) is a common kind associated with excessive flip-flop use. It happens when these tendons that stabilize the ankle become inflamed from the altered gait and scrunching of the toes caused by flip-flops thongs. This can cause excessive pain and swelling, sometimes requiring physiotherapy to heal.

  1. Back pain

The Spine Health Institute says of flip-flops and back pain, “Your foot contacts the ground differently in flip-flops, too, with more pressure put on the outside edges and less on the heel. This causes a slight rotation of the lower portion of your leg, which in turn changes the angle of your pelvis and prompts increased torsion of the lower spine.”

The Fix?

If you still don’t want to give up flip-flops cold turkey, there are other options such as shelling out more dough for quality ergonomic flip-flops or Birkenstocks instead.

 

Well, there you have it! Long-term Flip-flop use can wreak havoc in all sorts of ways! If you have any questions or concerns, our highly qualified, board certified DocChat physicians are always here to help!

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