Photo by Sun Ming

Are your flip-flops causing you lower back, leg, ankle or hip pain? Most likely, those easy breezy flops are causing some folks more problems than they realize.

I never thought too much about the risks of flip-flops until my own pair of them caused injury to me. I ended up with a clean crack straight through my knee which kept off my feet for months.

Although popular and easy to slip on, the flops can add to inflammation. 

Feet experts warn, “Not only are you putting yourself at risk for injury by wearing flip-flops, you’re also putting yourself at risk for permanent damage."

Dr. Alex Korr, president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine says he “cannot recommend flip-flops for long-term wear” based on damage to feet he's seen across different age groups.

Although this beach slipper is everywhere, who would guess they are troublemakers? The easy-breezy unstructured sole makes your body work too hard to keep the shoes on.

In fact, experts say, “Toes, tendons and muscles (tend to) over grip as you walk to keep them on your feet. There is also no arch support and no shock absorption or cushioning.” When worn regularly, they lead to injuries such as tendonitis, fasciitis, heel pain, bunions, hammertoes and stress fractures.

“Ankle sprains and stress fractures from overuse of these shoes are the worst,” the expert mentioned. “Not only are they painful, but there is usually about a 6- to 8-week recovery period where your activity is very limited as you heal.” 

“Flip-flop injuries are a major problem for patients who have lost sensation in their feet (ie, some diabetic patients),” says one podiatrist.

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