Summer is finally upon us and we can finally kick off our shoes and slip on our beloved flip flops that we practically live in all summer. As a Podiatrist I am no different than all of you and also love to wear flip flops. The difference is the kinds of flip flops I wear and those that you inevitably wear. I’m going to go out on a limb and fill you in on a secret that will limit my job security this summer but will hopefully avoid agony to your feet. (Sorry I couldn’t help myself.) First I will describe some conditions and then I will send you shoe shopping.
The following conditions are associated with wearing flip flops that lack arch support.
1. Plantar Fasciitis
This usually presents as heel or arch pain. Lack of arch support causes a ligament in your arch to pull and tear. See Heel Pain under Treatment services on our website.
There are tendons on either side of your ankle that hug your ankle bones. These tendons are designed to stabilize your ankles as well as help you push off after your heel leaves the ground. Wearing flip flops creates instability and places excess demand on these tendons which inevitably leads to tendonitis. See Tendonitis under Treatment services on our website.
This is pain on the ball (bottom behind your toes) of your foot. Wearing flat shoes or flip flops causes excessive pounding and pressure on the joints that connect your toes to the long bones of your foot. The most common place to feel pain is just behind your 2nd toe.
So how do I prevent these foot problems and still wear my beloved flip flops you might ask? The answer lies in the type of flip flops you purchase. Thankfully manufacturers have helped solve this problem by making flip flops with high, anatomically shaped foot beds. Look for brands like Vionic, Aetrex, Abeo and Olukai. And NO! these are not ugly orthopedic looking monstrosities. They are actually very attractive sandals/flip flops but also good for your feet. So get out there and shop before you hit the Shore!