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Flip Flop Red Flags

Posted on 05-22-2024 in Foot/Ankle by Dr. Sonya Ahmed, Dr. Erik Nilssen

Flip-flops are a familiar sign that beach season has arrived here in Northwest Florida. While that can start as early as spring and extend well into the fall, by July, the goal is typically to slip on the most breathable option possible when venturing outdoors.

However, it's important to remember that flip-flops are inappropriate for everyday use as they significantly contribute to heel pain and other foot and ankle issues. Instead, flip-flops should be limited to visits to the beach, pool, spas, shared showers and hotel rooms. Even then, selecting a pair that will mitigate the negative impact on your feet is critical. Here are a few red flags to keep in mind as you dig through your closet or purchase new flip-flops:

  • Made of low-quality materials. Shop for flip-flops made of soft leather. Leather is a higher-quality material and minimizes the potential for blisters and other types of irritation.
  • Doesn't bend properly. A flip-flop should gently bend from end to end at the ball of the foot. Shoes of any kind should never fold in half.
  • Too small or ill-fitting. Your foot should not hang off the edge of the flip-flop, nor should it be so large that your toes cannot grasp the shoe to keep it on your foot. Since this is nearly constant, it can cause tendonitis in your toes and lead to tears or ruptures of your tendons.
  • Causes irritation or blisters. You should also ensure that flips-flops don't irritate the skin between your toes. If the toe thong (the part that goes between your toes) aggressively rubs the skin, it can lead to blisters, which easily become infected.
  • Old and worn out. Inspect older pairs of flip-flops to ensure they are not coming apart or showing significant signs of wear and tear, causing them to come apart easily.

In addition to these red flags, avoid wearing flip-flops while participating in the following:

  • Walking long distances. Even the sturdiest flip-flops offer little in terms of shock absorption and arch support.
  • Yard work or other DIY projects. Always wear a shoe that fully protects your feet when doing outside activities such as mowing the lawn or using a weed-eater. Flip-flops are also inappropriate to wear when climbing a ladder or using most power tools.
  • Sports or other physical activities. Flip-flops offer no support making it easy to twist your foot/ankle, leading to an ankle sprain, broken ankle or worse.

If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, don't hesitate to contact our office at 850-435-4800 or complete our online Appointment Request form to schedule a visit with Dr. Sonya Ahmed and Dr. Erik Nilssen.

As our foot and ankle orthopaedic experts, Dr. Ahmed and Dr. Nilssen specialize in various foot and ankle conditions and offer a wide range of innovative procedures, including minimally invasive treatment and surgical intervention. On-site physical therapy is also available at the Davis Highway and Midway offices.

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