Top Reasons Why Flip-Flops Fail to Keep Feet Safe During Summer

While many people’s attention across the area has recently been focused on the Chicago Blackhawks’ third Stanley Cup victory in six years, icy days are behind us for now and summer is getting into full swing.

Especially with the July 4 holiday just around the corner, more people are wearing shorts, tank tops and flip-flops.

But while these shoes remain stylish and come in nearly every color, style and price range, they can do a lot of damage — and offer virtually no protection — for the feet.

The podiatrists at Ankle and Foot Centers know how important the right footwear can be to avoiding injury, and — in some cases — permanent foot damage.

We recently came across a list of reasons why flip-flops can be bad for you that the American Podiatric Medical Association shared with Cosmopolitan magazine.

Take a look and learn.

1. They expose feet to bacteria, viral and fungal infections. Wearing flip-flops exposes your feet to the elements. That means they can get covered in Staphylococcus — a bacteria that can irritate skin on the foot or, in the worst cases, lead to amputation. (This depends on your health at the time the bacteria is picked up, and whether you have open wounds from exfoliation during a pedicure, or open cuts.)
Meanwhile, athlete’s foot – a fungal infection that’s easily spread and is marked by itchiness – happens when a person walks around barefoot – or nearly so – and comes into contact with fungus. This is also true for the virus that causes warts, human papillomavirus, better known as HPV.

2. Heel damage. While walking, your heels hit the ground with force, and when the only thing between you and the ground is a flip-flop, the heel-strike impact can be even greater. This can result in pain — especially when standing or walking in flip-flops for long periods of time.

3. They can lead to blisters. When the thin strap of a flip-flop rubs against your feet while walking, it can create irritation and blisters. If a blister pops, you’ve got an open wound that leaves you vulnerable to pathogens when your foot is exposed.

4. They can create toe damage. A hammertoe happens when the knuckles of the toes bend. And when you’ve got a pair of flip-flops on your feet, the toes work extra hard to keep them in place. Over time, this can lead to a hammertoe.

5. They can cause pain. Those with flat feet need arch support to align their knees, hips and back. A flat shoe doesn’t offer that support, so as a result, your joints must compensate. This can result in overuse injuries such as Achilles tendonitis (injury to the tendon that bridges the calf muscle to the heel bone,) heel pain and pinched back nerves.

6. They can prompt bunions. Toes must work harder to keep flip-flops on the feet, and all this over-gripping can aggravate bunions, a painful bump at the big toe joint.

If you think you might be suffering from pain or injury from your flip-flops, call the doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers. Our podiatrists are experts at treating blisters, hammertoes, bunions and other foot injuries and can offer suggestions on the right types of shoes and inserts for your foot type.

Enjoy the Chicago weather this summer and we hope you stay safe no matter where your feet may take you!

For more information, visit our website at thinkfeet.com!

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