Summer’s Favorite Shoes Cause Foot Ailments

Flip flops are everywhere — whether on the beach, in the office or even in fancy restaurants. While they are a popular choice of footwear, flip flops can cause injuries to toes, feet and ankles.

“Flip flops are unsupportive shoes that place feet in harm’s way due to exposed toes and heels,” says Dr. Lorraine McKinney, podiatrist, Harris Health System. “They are also a fall-risk for those who have muscle weakness or an unsteady gait.”

While convenient to put on and often cost effective, flip flops can cause serious injuries, ranging from soft tissue injuries like cuts to tendonitis from the unsupportive design of the shoe.

Other unsightly effects of wearing flip flops are the dry skin, calluses and fissures wearers may get on the soles of their feet.

The not-so-fancy-footwear also alters the way a person walks.

"When a person wears a shoe with an enclosed toe area and heel area, the feet function more efficiently,” says Dr. McKinney. “But when wearing flip flops people’s feet have to work harder to keep the flip flop on. In addition, the foot muscles and tendons work harder due to the lack of support, which can cause foot strain or foot pain."

While the flip flop is a great shoe to have — even Dr. McKinney has some — they should be used in moderation and not used as everyday shoe gear.

“Long-term use of flip flops can cause severe dry skin, calluses and painful feet. I recommend wearing a supportive type of shoe and keep flip flop usage to a minimum,” says Dr. McKinney.

But flip flops do have one positive attribute and it’s the only reason Dr. McKinney owns a pair.

“Yes, I do have flip flops. But they are strictly to protect my feet from the fungus found in showers and the swimming pools!”