Are Flip-Flops Bad for Your Feet?

August 22, 2019

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Larry Bloomstein, M.D. contributes to topics such as Orthopedics, Orthopedic Surgery.

Flip-flops go along with summer like beaches and boardwalks. Some would argue that flip-flops are the unofficial footwear of the Jersey shore. But, did you know that wearing them too much can cause painful injuries and potentially long-term damage to your feet?

Some flip-flops can be dangerous to wear for long periods

Flip-flops may protect you from everyday dangers, like super-hot sand or broken glass, at pools and beaches, but many of these sandals consist of very lightweight materials that offer little to no support when you’re walking long distances or running. Over time, this can lead to stress fractures – a small crack or severe bruising within a bone – due to overuse and repetitive activity. People that suffer from osteoporosis or other diseases that weaken the bones are at greater risk for getting an injury.

“During the summer months we typically see an increase in foot injuries because people are either wearing flip-flops way too often, or they’re wearing them for activities that really require a protective shoe,” says Larry Bloomstein, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon affiliated with Bayshore Medical Center and Riverview Medical Center.

Wearing the right footwear

Choosing footwear can be a difficult balance of style and comfort. Many people during the summer months wear flip-flops when they should really be opting for a sneaker or other more protective shoe. Dr. Bloomstein says people should think twice about wearing flip flips while:

  • Riding a bicycle, skateboard, scooter or other non-motorized vehicles.
  • Hiking or climbing
  • Playing any kind of sports
  • Driving a car
  • Moving across wet or loose surfaces

How to find the best flops for your feet

Are flats or ballet shoes ok?

Bad news. Flats and ballet shoes also do a poor job of supporting and protecting your feet, but don’t throw out your favorite pair just yet! Many orthotics companies make a clear gel insole that fits perfectly inside of your flats and provides just the right amount of cushioning. Look for a pair that has a good amount of padding on the ball of the foot.

What should you do if you have foot pain?

If you are feeling pain in the ball or heel your foot while wearing flip-flops, flats or ballet shoes, stop wearing them immediately and switch to a more supportive sneaker or shoe, says Dr. Bloomstein.

See your doctor as soon as possible if the pain continues for more than a couple week or prevents you from doing normal activities. Ignoring the pain can have serious consequences and could lead to a more severe injury, longer recovery times and even surgery.

Dr. Larry Bloomstein practices in Red Bank and Morganville. Learn how our orthopedics teams can help you achieve smooth, pain-free movement.

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

Sources:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons