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If you live in a part of the country with temperate autumns and winters, your flip flops may never get a break from daily wear. These comfortable slip-ons come in every color and style under the sun and can be suitable for casual wear or even more dressy occasions (albeit amid a bit of controversy at times). However, despite their enduring power as a beach accessory, mounting evidence shows that flip flops may not be safe for repeated wear or long walks. Here are some of the issues flip flops could lead you to develop, as well as your treatment options if you've already begun to experience pain and discomfort.
What podiatry problems can flip flops cause?
Because flip flops rely on the pressure created in the space between your big and second toes to remain on your foot, it can come as no surprise that the strap can cause chafing or abrasions. These problems can be more common for those with too-small flip flops or ones with a plastic (rather than rubber or cloth) strap. Flip flops also offer very little arch support or shock cushioning, making them a bad choice for long walks on cobblestones or concrete sidewalks, trail hiking, or jogging. This lack of support could potentially increase your risk of injury, especially if you're walking on rough or uneven surfaces.
What should you do if you've begun to notice the effects of flip flop wear?
In most cases, discomfort caused by flip flop use can be resolved simply by switching to more comfortable shoes for a few days. If you just can't bear to give up your ventilated footwear, opt for sandals that have top and back straps for support rather than those that cut between your toes. You may also want to consider some gel insoles or shoe inserts to provide some additional cushioning that can prevent you from doing any more damage.
if you're still noticing pain or swelling after more than a week, it can be a good idea to make an appointment with a podiatrist like Hartford Podiatry Group. It's possible you may have stretched a tendon or ligament or created a ball of scar tissue that's resulting in symptoms of Morton's neuroma, all of which may require medical attention to resolve. Fortunately, by taking action before (or as soon as) you begin to notice foot pain, you should be able to avoid any long-term damage.