walking away from flip flops on the beachWhen you hear that someone is a flip-flopper, what comes to mind?

When you accuse someone of being a flip-flopper, you are probably suggesting that they can't make up their mind—or worse, that they change their position based on whatever is convenient for them in the moment. Accusing a politician of being a flip-flopper, for example, can be an extremely effective way to discredit them (assuming, that is, that you can back up your claim with evidence).

Our point here is that "flip-flopper" has a negative connotation. And the clear idea that flipping and flopping are not good traits should be extended to a certain kind of footwear.

We are talking, of course, about the flip-flop.

Flip-flops are generally flat, thin, and held onto your foot solely by the little strap that fits between your first two toes. People like them because they can slip them on and off easily and because they can allow your feet to stay cool in hot weather.

But those limited advantages are far outweighed by all of the potential negative outcomes of regularly wearing flip-flops. One of those negative outcomes is persistent heel pain.

How Flip-Flops Lead to Heel Pain

Frequently wearing flip-flops can lead to the development of plantar fasciitis, a condition characterized by inflammation along the bottom of your foot. Because flip-flops provide little to no arch support, the plantar fascia, which is the ligament running the length of the underside of your foot, becomes inflamed and leads to pain in the heel. This issue probably cannot be resolved while you continue to wear flip-flops.

We should note that plantar fasciitis is just one of a number of issues—including bunions, hammertoes, tendonitis, and more—that can be caused and/or worsened by wearing flip-flops too often.

The Solution Is Simple

The best solution for avoiding the issues that can be caused by wearing flip-flops has probably already occurred to you: don't wear them. With very few exceptions—poolside, in the shower, and the like—there are simply no advantages to wearing this thin, non-supportive variety of footwear.

That doesn't necessarily mean that you have to encase your feet in shoes when the weather is warm. There are plenty of well-designed, supportive sandals on the market that can provide a much better base for your foot and help you avoid plantar fasciitis and other issues associated with wearing flip-flops.

It's a Good Idea to See a Podiatrist

If you have pain in your heel—or elsewhere in your feet or ankles—it is time to let a podiatrist take a look. A doctor can make a proper diagnosis and suggest a course of treatment that can relieve your pain and get you back to doing your favorite activities.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis, for example, may include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and/or padding or strapping of the feet to provide some extra support. Stretching the calf muscles regularly and wearing arch supports (over-the-counter in most cases, but custom orthotics may also be an option) are other ways to address the problem.

Your podiatrist can also help you make good choices when it comes to footwear so that the problems you may be experiencing as a result of wearing flip-flops are less likely to recur.

We Are Decidedly Not Flip-Floppers

The doctors at InStride Carolina Podiatry Group are not flip-floppers—in any sense of the word. You can count on our podiatrists to give you the best treatment and advice to relieve your pain and get you back to your active lifestyle. And you can count on our podiatrists to strongly recommend you toss your flip-flops in the trash and replace them with much more supportive footwear.

Don't wait for your pain or discomfort to get worse. Instead, contact us today so that we can diagnose the issue and get you on the path to recovery.