It’s just about flip-flop season. Time to expose those toes and prep your feet for fun in the sun, right? Wrong. Although flip-flops are so easy to slip into and super cute, have you ever considered what they might be doing to your feet? Bet not.
Below are eight reasons flip-flops could be damaging your foot health:
1) You’re exposed to bacteria … and viruses … and fungi—Oh, my!
When your feet get filthy after spending a day in flip-flops, they are likely to be covered in something rather nasty. The lengthy list of unpleasant things you can expose your feet to include Staphylococcus—a skin-irritating bacteria that can lead to foot amputation in extreme cases—and athlete’s foot, which is highly contagious. Yuck!
2) You lose the pep in your step
Research shows that those who wear flip-flops take smaller steps than those who wear sneakers. If you fall into that category, you are lagging behind your friends and loved ones when walking. Keep up!
3) You’re an accident waiting to happen
Remember those smaller steps we just discussed? Well, they can drastically increase your risk of tripping and performing an Instagram-worthy face-plant. Don’t be that guy.
4) You’re just asking for blisters (and more)
When the only thing keeping the flip-flop on your foot is a thin piece of plastic between your toes (or a rope-like material in some cases), friction is bound to happen. With that friction comes blisters that eventually become open wounds. These wounds can be exposed to the aforementioned “nasty things” that live on the surfaces you walk on.
5) They mess with your posture
Since flip-flops are flat and unmalleable (not bending the way your foot does when you walk barefoot), you can alter the biomechanics of your body, negatively impacting your posture. That can mean pain from your foot to your head.
6) You can say goodbye to your pretty toes
When you’re wearing flip-flops, your toes work extra hard to ensure they stay on your feet. All of that excess strain on the joints in your toes may result in developing hammertoe over time.
7) Your heels get hammered
Think about how your foot pounds the ground every time you take a step. And what part of the body is bearing the bulk of the weight while foot hits floor again and again? The heel. A flimsy piece of foam will not absorb shock, will not provide cushion, will not support the body. The heel is left to fend for itself. Over a period of time, that can worsen heel-strike impact, which may result in a lot of pain by the end of the day.
8) Your bunions will be bummed
If you have bunions, flip-flops can mean trouble. As previously mentioned, your toes work extra hard to ensure the flip-flop stays on your foot, and the extra effort will cause more bunion pain.
So, the long and the short of it is this: Flip-flops may be the easiest footwear in your summer ensemble, but they’re the hardest things on your feet. Instead, opt for an ultra-trendy sandal with supportive straps across the middle of the foot and behind the ankle to keep your pretty pedicure visible but your foot happy and healthy.
For more information about proper footwear or to schedule an appointment, contact Essex Union Podiatry today.