Flip-Flops: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Ah, summer! Now that it’s officially here, we can get out and enjoy the sun and surf, slipping our feet into flip-flops to our heart’s content. Right? Well, there’s a lot to love about flip-flops. But along with the good, there’s also some danger.

The Good – flip-flops protect you from diseases like athlete’s foot and other fungi. In this sense, they’re definitely better than going barefoot. Flip-flops are convenient to toss into a beach bag or backpack. Pull them out and slip them on while walking on pool decks or in public locker rooms where fungi love to multiply.

The Bad – flip-flops are never going to win any awards for providing good support. We’ve seen countless cases of arch pain and plantar fasciitis linked to a whole summer spent in these lightweight, rubbery, unsupportive sandals. There’s just not enough to them to give your arches the cushioning and cradling they crave.

The Ugly – because they’re so unsupportive, your ankles can turn in more than they should. In addition, your heels will tend to slide from side to side. Finally, since there’s nothing surrounding your heel, your toes take on most of the work of keeping flip-flops on your feet. All that toe-gripping and heel slipping puts you at risk for strained tendons, sprained ankles, and falls that could cause injury to other body parts.

Go ahead and don flip-flops at the pool or the beach – that’s good. But avoid the bad and the ugly by:

  • not wearing them all day
  • alternate flip-flops with more supportive sandals or shoes
  • losing the flip-flops when you’re playing sports and wearing appropriate athletic shoes instead.

Our experienced podiatric surgeons, Dr. Craig B. Frey, Dr. Megan L. Oltmann, and Dr. Jim Swienconek, can help if flip-flops get the best of you and cause foot pain this summer. Call Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland in Solon, Ohio, at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We offer a modern office with the latest technology for podiatric patients in Portage, Geauga, Cuyahoga, and Summit Counties, proudly serving our patients from Solon, Aurora, Bedford, Chagrin Falls, Hudson, Macedonia, and Twinsburg.