Florida living promotes the casual lifestyle and casual attire, including flip-flops. These skimpy sandals are seen everywhere. The variety of available flip-flops is endless, from the cheap, dollar-store type to contoured, thick-soled flip-flops to elegant sequined sandals.
Are flip-flops a healthy choice of footwear? According to extensive biomechanical research conducted over the last ten years, no! To keep the flip-flop on during gait, the toes must bend and grasp the sole of the shoe with each step. This strains several tendons of the foot, resulting in compensatory problems such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. Some studies have also associated flip-flop use with knee and back pain.
Flip-flops are especially dangerous for people with neuropathy and for those with balance problems, as they can increase fall risk. They can put diabetic patients at risk for chafing, getting foreign bodies in the shoe, and for microtrauma.
Despite the potential risks, many people will continue to wear flip-flops. If one chooses to do so, a more supportive type with a thicker sole that is contoured for the arch , such as the Vionic product, is recommended. This will reduce some of the strain on the arch and forefoot.
The doctors at Melbourne Podiatry Associates stand ready to answer any questions that you may have regarding flip-flops or any other footwear.