When the weather gets warmer, flip-flops become go-to wardrobe staples. But doctors are warning against these summer shoes because of their safety issues and the negative effects they can have on your health.
“By definition it is kind of flopping off your foot essentially,” Dr. Zachary Vaupel, a foot and ankle surgeon at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, told WXYZ.
Vaupel says continuously wearing flip-flops can cause damage to your feet.
“Plantar fasciitis, or heel pain, we can see pain in the arch,” he said. “Tendinitis, stress fractures and shin splits.”
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And, because flip-flops expose your feet and toes, the risk of stubbed toes, cuts or wounds from glass and debris on the ground, and injury from heavy objects that may fall on your feet, increases, according to North Central Surgical Center Hospital.
Wearing flip-flops can also cause harm to other parts of your body.
Research has found that when a person walks in flip-flops, they alter their gait and scrunch up their toes to grip the sandal, which can lead to problems in the foot as well as the knees, hips and lower back.
“Trips and falls, strains and sprains broken bones and things like that,” Vaupel, said, may happen if you're wearing flip-flops.
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“With children, because they are more active, we do see injuries in children because thus typically tend to run around and do things they probably shouldn’t do in a flip flop,” he continued.
Vaupel has some suggestions for those who choose to wear flip-flops.
“You have to be careful on the stairs,” he said. “You don’t really want to wear them for a long period of time or for walking long distances.”
Vaupel also suggests wearing sunscreen on your feet while wearing flip-flops, because a sunburn on the top of your foot can be painful, and lead to blisters and infections.
It’s also important to wear the right size flip-flops.
"If you have a flip flop that's too small it can cause pressure point that can lead to irritations and blisters. If it's too big, it's unstable you can slip and fall," Vaupel said.
Vaupel advocates wearing sneakers to keep yourself safe from injury.
"[A] cushioned shoe that's supportive, [with a] closed toe that can protect from injuries and supports the foot and can reduce foot pain,” he said.
As for whether flip-flops are worse for your feet than heels, Vaupel chooses flip-flops as the poorer option.