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Sharp Health News

Are flip-flops bad for your feet? (infographic)

May 27, 2016

As summer draws near, many of us will reach for our flip-flops and head to the beach. But are your beloved flip-flops putting your feet in peril? Dr. Ernesto Hernandez, a podiatrist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, shares some valuable insight into the dangers of wearing flip-flops — and offers a better alternative for summer footwear.

Are flip-flops bad for your feet? Did you know that podiatrists see four times as many women as men for foot-related problems? Furthermore, 75 percent of Americans will experience foot pain during their lives and more than two million Americans seek treatment for heel pain each year. There are hidden dangers of wearing flip-flops. Both the foot and ankle can be negatively affected. Ankle. Without straps to support the ankle, twists and sprains can occur easily. When wearing flip-flops, we tend to take shorter steps and turn the ankle inward. Toes. Due to the lack of support, we tend to scrunch our toes when walking in flip-flops. Over time, this can lead to tendonitis, or inflammation of the tendons. Arch. Most flip-flops offer no arch support, which causes the foot to lie unnaturally flat. Heel. Too much strain on the main connective tissue can cause a dull or sharp pain in the back of the heel. With prolonged wear, it is very common to develop thick skin, or calluses, on the bottom of the heel. Instead of flip-flops, choose footwear with a sturdy sole and built-in arch support. “There are many options available for supportive summer footwear,” says Dr. Ernesto Hernandez, a podiatrist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group. “Choose a comfortable shoe that offers both arch and heel support.” The shoe shouldn’t bend easily in the middle. A thicker sole offers better arch support and straps across the back add necessary support for your feet.

View the printable version of this infographic.

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