Several experts believe that flip-flops are fine for the beach or sitting by the pool, but when it comes to long walks or playing sports, they are a big no-no.
Flip-flops have no arch support, heel cushioning or shock absorption. This minimal support can lead to arch pain, plantar fasciitis, nerve damage and “kinetic stresses” according to orthopedic doctors at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. In addition, the simple act of gripping your toes to keep the shoe from slipping off can result in trouble to your feet, legs, hips and back.
Due to the lack of protection, flip-flop wearers have a higher chance of tendinitis, glass cuts, broken toes and even nerve problems. When wearing flip-flops, your exposed feet are also more susceptible to insect and snake bites as well as sunburn.
“Melanoma – cancer that develops in the skin cells responsible for pigmentation – of the foot is more likely to go unnoticed than elsewhere on the body, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. If you wear flip-flops or sandals outdoors, put on sunscreen.”
As well as all the injuries that come with flip-flops, there is another reason you may want to reconsider how often you wear them. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, flip-flops can actually change the way you walk. Wearing them for extended periods of time will strain the calf muscles. Pinched nerves in the hips and back may also result due to the fact that your toes have to grip the shoe.
Flip-flops may be the symbol of a lazy summer afternoon, but they should be worn with caution. For more information about the do’s and don’ts of flip-flops, as well as a list of approved brands, check out the APMA.