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The Trouble with Flip-Flops

Are you soaking up that summer sun? In warm weather we often switch from supportive footwear to flip-flops. Despite being popular, wearing flip-flops can be dangerous. Who knew? When it comes to foot and ankle pain, the biggest cause is wearing improper footwear. Each year, hospitals report that more than 200,000 people are treated for flip flop-related injuries. Here’s why.

Every summer, there is a significant rise in plantar fasciitis problems. The lack of support from flip flops causes abnormal stretch to the plantar fascia in the arch, leading to heel pain. Also, to grip the thong of the flip-flop, the wearer needs to really scrunch their toes d at the wrong time in the gait cycle. The action results in a shortened stride, forcing the leg musculature to work harder. This can result in the development of hammertoes and claw toes, shin splints, or muscle pain. Flip flops often cause blisters between the big and second toes.

Because the thin flexible sole of the flip flop offers little shock absorption, it increases the mechanical stress on your foot bones, which can lead to stress fractures.

Not to be overlooked is risk of serious injury from tripping over flip flops. Doing so will increase your chances of making a visit to the emergency room because of blunt trauma to the toes, which are completely unprotected in flip flops. Common injuries include torn toenail beds or toe fractures, in addition to ankle sprains or even fractures. Worst of all are the foot injuries seen in people wearing flip flops when cutting the grass, where severe lacerations and even amputations can occur. Driving in flip flops also poses a danger if the driver’s foot slips off the brake or the loose flip flop gets stuck under one of the pedals.

Worst of all is that flip flop harbor bacteria and fungi, which can then lead to infections. So, protect those valuable feet in summer, because it’s you feet that help support you every day!

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