'Carefree' Flip-Flops Can Cause Problems with Poor Support

By Victoria Luddy

Who doesn’t look forward to warmer temperatures and the first day you can ditch those winter boots or restricting work shoes and put on a pair of flipflops? Flip-flops are a very common footwear. Although the idea of flip-flops may bring pleasant thoughts, your feet could be paying the price. Here are a few common problems that may be associated with flip-flops with poor support. 

Over-stretching soft tissue

Flip-flops may not offer full support to the arch of the foot compared to the support a sneaker provides, resulting in over stretching the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia is a connective tissue band on the bottom of the foot. Sometimes the culprit in foot pain may be the quick change in footwear from one cold season to a warm season. This poor support or inconsistent footwear tends to overstretch the arch resulting in pain, usually at the heel when plantar fascia is irritated. 

Tendonitis

The minimal support offered in flip-flops forces the muscles of the foot and ankle to work much harder when walking. There may be increased work from the muscles of the foot and lower leg to bend the toes up and clear the foot from the floor when walking or even additional work to maintain the flip flop attachment to the foot by clenching the toes more as some flip-flops have very small straps or no back support. This repetitive overuse of the muscles may lead to irritation of the tendons or even muscle strains. 

Ankle Sprains

There is no surprise that flipflops do not provide any ankle stability. There is no ankle support to prevent the rolling of an ankle. Also the materials may be light and flexible that the flip-flop can fold over itself or get caught easily. 

These are just a few of the injuries that may be related to poor support flip-flops. In addition, your footwear can effect the rest of the body from knees, hips, and back. When choosing flip-flops shop for sturdy materials with good cushion and arch support. Purchase a flip flop with cushioning throughout sole of the flip flop to absorb some of the shock while walking. A physical therapist can assess your foot to prevent injuries and treat injuries that may be due to poor footwear. Also, seek advice from a foot specialist for a shoe recommendation or custom orthotics if necessary.