Ask The Foot Doctor: Why Do Flip Flops Hurt Your Feet?

While summer is starting to wind down with school just around the corner, the warm weather is still here for a few more months. With this warm weather comes sandals and flip flops. While these toe-bearing shoes can be quite stylish, it’s important to wear them only sparingly. If worn too frequently, your favorite flip flops can actually lead to some severe foot pain.

Toe Pain

Since flip flops only have a thin strip of fabric or rubber holding the shoe to the foot, the toes compensate by working extra hard. To keep the shoes from slipping off, the toes must grip the soles. With continuous wear, the toes can become overused and the repetitive muscle action can trigger tendonitis. Tendonitis is the inflammation of the tendons and connective muscles. This condition can be painful, and if left untreated can lead to tears or ruptures in the tendons.

Constant flip flop wear can also lead to a condition known as Hammer Toes. This condition causes the joints in the toes to contract and leave the toes bent in abnormal positions. Toes with this condition can encourage bunion formation or worsen existing bunions.

Ankle, Back and Hip Pain

Since flip flops are not securely fastened to the foot, this causes you to change the way you walk. You may not even notice that it happens, but your body sure does. Most people end up taking shorter steps in an effort to keep their shoes on their feet. Many people also tend to drag their feet and hit their heels to the ground with less vertical force than if they were walking normally. These things combined can throw off your natural balance and trigger pain throughout the body. This change in stride often leads to ankle, knee, hip or back issues.

Plantar Fasciitis

Not only are flip flops often flimsy, but they are flat. The lack of support can cause a lot of pain. There is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the ball of your foot. This band, called the plantar fascia, is what creates the arch of your foot. Continued lack of support, that comes with wearing flip flops, can lead to inflammation in the band and cause plantar fasciitis. Not only can plantar fasciitis cause arch pain, but if left untreated, overtime the foot can actually begin to flatten out.

Better Choice Flip Flops

Not all flip flops are the same. There are a few things to look for when picking out your next pair of summer slip-ons.

Treating Foot Pain

First, give your feet a break from the flip flops.  Consider a foot soak, and rub the tired muscles of your feet.  Check for swelling or any abrasions, and monitor your foot pain levels.  If you find that your feet hurt continually, or hurt more when first getting out of bed in the morning- it's time to pay a visit to a podiatrist.  Contact us today, and we'll verify your insurance and get you back to feeling great again!

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