By Christopher M. Cole, L.Ped –
In Southwest Florida, flip-flops are not just reserved for the Summertime or trips to the beach, they’re practically a year round wardrobe staple. Residents and visitors alike can be seen donning flip-flops in shopping malls, supermarkets, night clubs, restaurants and schools. The ever growing popularity of “Flip-Flop Fridays” has even made them acceptable in the workplace! Many think that they are doing their feet a favor by taking a break from stiletto heels or uncomfortable dress shoes, and sliding into flip-flops. However, podiatrists warn that this highly popular form of footwear may be causing some serious problems.
Many people wear flip-flops as replacement for their normal shoe gear because they are simple to wear, especially in Southwest Florida, where most are wearing more relaxed clothing. That’s where we find the problems.
In a normal flip-flop, the front of your foot has to work harder to keep the flip-flop on and there is minimal support and shock absorption. That can lead to and exacerbate tendonitis, arch pain, hammer toes and many other issues.
Podiatrists we work with say they see about ten people a week with flip-flop related issues. Here at Foot Solutions, we see an increasing number of customers with conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot. This can certainly be a result of wearing flip-flops frequently.
Flip-flops have virtually no support, they don’t absorb shock, and people typically wear them for far too long. In addition, they’re unstable, making it easier to turn an ankle. Even with many styles seductive “sponginess”, 99 percent of flip-flops still provide no support. So, they can stress other joints, causing pain in the knees and back.
Don’t want to stop the flop?
For those flip-flop lovers who don’t want to give up freedom of your toes, we have good news. There are some alternate styles of flip-flops that are not as damaging to your feet. There are specialty lines of flip-flops that provide arch support, absorb shock, and provide stability.
At Foot Solutions of Estero, we carry several lines of sandals and flip-flops that are actually good for your feet. For example, try brands such as:
. Finn Comfort
These are all very fashionable, while still easy on the feet.
For casual flip-flops, try “Oofos”. These are some of the most comfortable, “squishy” sandals you will ever experience, and have great arch support. They come in fun colors, are very durable, and can simply be thrown in the washing machine to clean.
These types of flip-flops are really the best option out there, as the sole and arch support are similar to a good athletic shoe. Many of the brands can accommodate an orthotic and are even adjustable at the toe area so the straps don’t cut into the front of your foot.
For a free foot scan and Pedorthic analysis, or to browse shoes and sandals, stop into Foot Solutions Estero (U.S. 41 and Corkscrew Rd.) or call (239) 495-8911.