It’s that time of year again when many of our patients begin sporting their flip flops. There’s good and bad when it comes to open toed footwear. Although wearing flip flops may feel comfortable to you, that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for your feet. To reduce the chances of developing a foot condition, you may consider wearing your summer sandals intermittently versus all day, every day.

Toe Pain
Some flip flops only have a small slip of rubber or fabric that holds the foot to the sandal. This often forces the toes to contract while walking in order to keep the flip flop connected to the foot. Climbing stairs and walking on uneven terrain will cause the toes to work overtime, leading to fatigue and stress on the tiny arch muscles. One foot condition that constant flip flop wearing can lead to is hammer toes. Hammer toes is a condition in which the toes, normally the 2nd through 5th toe, become chronically bent and eventually very rigid. This condition causes pain at the ball of the foot and the toe joints.

Plantar Fasciitis
Not only are flip flops flimsy, they tend to be very flat too. The lack of support can
lead to structural foot problems. There is a thick band of tissue that supports the
arches of your foot. The plantar fascia connects from the heel bone to the ball of
the foot. This musculotendinous tissue may become stressed and impacted by
long-term use of flip flops, especially from walking on hard surfaces. Not only
could you develop heel pain or arch pain, you may also begin to develop flat feet over time. If you find yourself wearing flip flops regularly during warmer months, you should consider limiting the
length of time your wear them. Flip flops should never be worn while playing sports or walking for long distances. For activities such as yard work, distance walking, and sports, it’s a good idea to change into a good pair of supportive tennis or walking shoes. Prolonged use of flip flops may cause certain foot conditions to develop over time. By taking adequate breaks and switching into more supportive footwear, you may
help reduce the chances of developing chronic foot pain. If you choose to wear flip flops on a regular basis, consider coming in for a foot adjustment periodically. Healthy foot and arch alignment will help your feet
function optimally and endure the added stress from open toed footwear.