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Flip-Flops Can Be Harmful in the Long Run

Posted on Nov 17, 2012

Flip-flops—sometimes called zories—are common footwear in the warm climate of Arizona. However, in a recent news article, several podiatrists warn against wearing flip-flops too often.

Flip-flops do not give feet the support they need. If you wear flip-flops while being physically active, it's possible to sprain, break, or twist the foot or ankle. Doctors also caution that there is the potential for infection from the sandal straps.

Dr. Tatiana Wellens-Bruschayt, a podiatrist with Central Florida Foot and Ankle, says she sees a big increase in plantar fasciitis—or heel spurs—in the summer when more people wear flip-flops. The flip-flops provide no arch support, and that results in a lot of heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. Shoes like flip-flops that have insufficient arch support increase the chance of getting it.

Dr. Wellens-Bruschayt knows that most people really enjoy wearing flip-flops, so if they still insist on doing so, they should go to a good shoe store or consult a podiatrist. She said that Orthoheel and Aetrex make footwear with good support and cushioning.

If you visit the site of the American Podiatric Medical Association, they have a full list of do's and don'ts for wearing flip-flops. Warnings include not to re-wear flip-flops every year: if they show signs of wear, discard them and get a new pair. Also, do not wear flip-flops when walking long distances. Even sturdy flip-flops have very little arch support and shock absorption.

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Dr. Peyman A. Elison
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Founder and Managing Partner of Fixing Feet Institute