Plus, a better alternative for healthier feet.
Flip-flops are a favorite summertime wardrobe accessory – quick, cool, easy, and breezy. While this flimsy rubber foot ware is perfectly suitable for wearing around the pool, to the beach, in the locker room, your hotel, and even for a quick commute from car to the office, foot specialists warn of the health problems that may result from wearing them as “regular shoes” too often.
Here are 8 reasons why:
1. Exposure to bacteria, viral, and fungal infections. Any time you wear flip-flops in public, your feet get dirty. As a result, you may be susceptible to bacterial infections that can irritate the skin on your feet and may cause serious infections. In addition, athlete’s foot, an itchy fungal infection that’s highly contagious, is spread by contact with contaminated surfaces and the same goes for the virus that causes warts.
2. Impact on heels. Because flip-flops have such a thin sole, there is nothing separating your foot from the ground. Walking in flip-flops accentuates the impact on your heel, which could lead to pain.
3. Poor posture. Any super-flat shoe does not offer enough arch support to keep your spine in proper alignment, nor do they support the heels or balls of the feet where some people tend to place most of their weight.
4. Orthopedic wear-and-tear. People with flat feet need arch support to keep their knees, hips, and back aligned. A flip-flop offers no arch support. This can cause overuse injuries leading to pain in your feet, legs, hips and lower back.
5. Blisters. The thin strap between your toes rubs up against your skin with every step. This can cause irritation and blisters.
6. Toe deformities. When you wear flip-flops, your toes bend to grip the sole and keep the shoe on your foot. This can lead to hammertoes or bunions.
For those who like to travel light on their feet, all is not lost! If you do wear open-toe shoes, choose one with the following features:
- A thick strap at the midfoot and another strap that goes behind your ankle to keep your foot in the shoe.
- A shoe with a thicker sole for extra support and shock absorption.
- Choose sandals with fabric or leather straps, because natural materials tend to be safer than plastic.
If you are concerned about conditions of the feet and toenails, an injury or are experiencing foot pain, making an appointment with a podiatrist is a great first step.
Dr. Michelle Castiello is board-certified in primary care in Podiatric Medicine.
To make an appointment in Scarsdale, please call 914-723-8100.