What is easier during the summer months than throwing on a pair of flip-flops in the morning and then you are good for the day? But wearing these flimsy sandals for too long can result in overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and tendonitis.
Wearing flip-flops to protect your feet is smart. At the beach, they can protect your soles from burning sand, parking lots, and sidewalks. When you wear them in public areas such as pools, gyms, locker rooms, and showers, you are protecting your skin from the fungal infections and bacteria that lurk at those damp places.
Flip-Flops Can Cause Major Foot Problems
Flip-flops do not offer enough support or stability for good foot health, and overuse problems can occur. Here is just a sample:
Heel pain. Most heel pain is caused by plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the plantar fascia tissue that connects your heel to your toes along the bottom of your feet. As we walk, our heels strike the ground with substantial force. If sandals and shoes don’t have enough cushioning, the repeated stress on this tissue can cause heel pain that often is worst first thing in the morning.
Hammertoe. Your toes must work extra hard to keep your footwear on when you wear flip-flops or sandals with few straps. Repeated curling of your toes may result in a muscle imbalance called hammertoe. Your toes will become bent, stiff, and painful.
Achilles tendonitis. If you have a smaller arch or flat feet, flip-flops will not give your feet enough support. The joints in your feet and even your leg will try to compensate, leading to an overuse injury. Achilles tendonitis, where the tendon that connects the heel bone to the calf muscle is injured, is an example of this problem.
Wearing flip-flops also forces you to take shorter steps, which may result in sprained ankles or even a tripping accident.
Flip-flops have a place in your wardrobe but limit wearing them when you only need them for protection. Opt for sturdier sandals for walking and prolonged standing.
We Can Help Resolve any Overuse Injury
Foot or toe pain is not normal! If you have any discomfort from arthritis, an injury or just from overuse, please call Michele Kurlanski, DPM at Lighthouse Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Kurlanski offers expert and professional podiatry services in Cumberland County, Maine. Please call us today at 207-774-0028 to schedule your appointment in our Scarborough office.