You and Your Flip Flops

It’s the time of the year when flip-flops and ice cream cones create an excellent combination.  The same reasons people enjoy the foot freedom of flip-flops also lead to a podiatric nightmare.  While poor flip-flops offer little arch support, heel cushioning, or shock absorption, all give little protection.  This increases the risk for stubbed toes, glass cuts, puncture wounds, or having objects crush the foot.  The following is a do’s and don’ts list according the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) for purchasing and using this type of sandal. 

Do’s

  • Do shop for a flip-flop made of high quality, soft leather.  Leather is the best prevention of blisters and other types of irritation.
  • Do gently bend the flip-flop from end to end before buying.  Only purchase those that bend at the ball of the foot, shoes of any kind should never fold in half.
  • Do ensure that your foot does not hang off the edge of the flip-flop.
  • Do look for flip-flops that hold APMA’s Seal of Acceptance.  Evaluated by a team of APMA podiatrists, these products are shown to allow for the most normal foot function and health. 
  • Do wear a sturdy pair of flip-flops when walking around a pool, beach, locker room areas, and hotel rooms.  Walking barefoot can expose the foot to plantar wars and athlete’s foot. 

Don’ts

  • Don’t re-wear flip-flops year after year.  Inspect older pairs for wear and discard them if they show signs of severe wear.
  • Don’t ignore irritation between toes where the toe thong fits.  Irritation can lead to blisters and possible infections.
  • Don’t wear flip-flops while walking long distances.  Even the sturdiest flip-flops offer little in terms of shock absorption and arch support.
  • Don’t play sports in flip-flops.  It becomes much easier to twist the foot or angle causing sprains and breaks.
  • Don’t do yard work while wearing flip-flops.  Always wear a shoe that fully protects feet when doing outside activities especially when mowing the lawn or using a weed-eater.  
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