Disadvantages of Wearing Flip Flops vs. Proper Footwear Questions and Answers
We’re all familiar with the excitement that comes each year with the onset of warmer weather. When the temperature rises, we usually can’t wait to pack away our winter coats and boots and bring out our summer clothing, including a warm weather staple: flip flops.
While flip flops are a widely popular form of comfortable footwear, did you know that they can actually be detrimental to your foot and ankle health? You don’t have to throw out your favorite pair forever, but here, we’ll explain how regularly wearing flip flops might be causing some foot or ankle issues, what you can do to help, and how to make sure you wear these summertime staples safely.
What are the disadvantages of wearing flip flops?
While many people love flip flops for their ease, comfort, and how inexpensive they are compared to other forms of footwear, flip flops unfortunately have many disadvantages for your foot and ankle health. Most pairs of flip flops offer little to no support, which can lead to strain on your feet, toes, ankles, and even your joints. In general, lack of support in your footwear can lead to persistent issues in the arch and heel of your foot, including a common issue known as plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot.
Since flip flops usually don’t have much support, it can also influence the way you walk, and if you wear them frequently, it can eventually change the way that you naturally walk. With most pairs of flip flops, your toes have to act as a grip to keep them on, and this constant flexing or scrunching of the toes can lead to tendonitis, or something commonly known as “hammer toes”, which causes your toes to curl downward instead of pointing forward, as is natural. Also, since flip flops don’t offer much general protection of your foot, wearing them can increase your risk of things like stubbing your toe, cutting your foot, or having debris like dirt or rocks impact your feet.
This doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your favorite pair of flip flops or swear them off forever! Indeed, since flip flops are so cheap, easy, and comfortable, especially in warm weather, it can be useful to have a pair around the house that you can quickly slip on. It’s also a good idea to wear flip flops in and around areas like pools or gym locker rooms, as they can offer protection against bacteria commonly found in those areas. However, it’s a good idea to avoid wearing flip flops regularly, or for long periods of time. Once and a while for comfort is fine, but consistent use is what can lead to these issues.
Why should I consider wearing proper footwear?
When we’re getting ready each day, we often don’t think about how the shoes we slip on can relate to our overall health, but the truth is, what we wear regularly can have a significant impact on our foot and ankle health over time. Wearing proper footwear can significantly reduce your risk of developing the conditions mentioned above, such as plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, “hammer toes”, and more. Having shoes that are comfortable, supportive, and offer protection from injury or debris can ensure your natural gait stays intact, which itself is important in reducing negative impact on your ankles and other joints. Proper footwear is an important aspect of your overall health, and as your body goes through the natural progression of aging, you need support to help prevent injury or undue stress on your body.
Who should I visit to find proper footwear?
At Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists, we are happy to provide you with advice and recommendations about proper footwear. Not all flip flops are made equal, and some can actually offer decent support. You can always bring in the pair you’re wearing, show us, and we can evaluate the level of support, or recommend something more supportive and better for your overall foot and ankle health. You’re welcome to do this with any other kind of footwear, as well. In addition to helping you find the right footwear, we offer comprehensive, quality care for any kind of foot and ankle issues.