Docs Say Flip-Flops Not Very Foot-Friendly

What's mean for the beach wasn't meant for the everyday grind

By Lita Beck
|  Wednesday, Jul 22, 2009  |  Updated 8:28 AM CDT
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Warning Flip Flops May be Dangerous to Your Health

Stick to wearing flip-flops at the beach or around the pool, not for everyday footwear, doctors say.

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Warning Flip Flops May be Dangerous to Your Health

Doctors warn flip flops should not be worn as everyday shoes.
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If you wear flip-flop sandals for comfort, you might want to rethink what you step out in: Doctors say flip-flops are not very foot-friendly.

Podiatrist Dr. Noreen Oswell notes that flip-flopping people feel like they are wearing shoes, but the sandals were originally meant for use only around the pool and the beach.

"It was never meant to be worn to the grocery store or to amusement parks or all day, running errands," she said.

Doctors say flip-flops lack the structure your foot needs.

"Any shoe you can fold up and put in your back pocket is not going to give you adequate support," Oswell said. "Any shoe that does not flex is just as bad."

She said shoes that bend in the arch cause strain and overuse. The strain can even stretch past your feet -- most people grip flip-flops with their toes to keep them on, leading to back pain.

"You are also overusing the calf muscle, which pulls down on your lower back," Oswell said. "So it could lead to foot pain, ankle pain, knee pain and back pain."

People can also get injured while wearing flip-flops, Oswell said.

"I have had people trip over the tip of their flip-flop and break their toes, pull off tendons of their toes that we have to surgically attach," she said.

Can't quit the flip-flop habit? Look for sandals made out of leather or suede to cut down on blisters and look for models with cushioning and arch support.

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