Can Flip-Flops Cause Foot Problems?


Beware of those cute summer sandals; they may cause foot pain and other serious problems.

Flip-flops, sling-backs, slides and mules may be the “haute couture” of warm weather footwear, but they may be putting your feet at risk. Orthopedic surgeons have been seeing an onslaught of women limping into their offices in search of help.

The first step toward pain

It is your heel that absorbs the shock of your foot striking the ground as you put your foot down to walk, and it is your heel that springs you back for your next step.

Attaching the heel to the toes, the plantar fascia ligament helps you balance your foot as you walk, taking a lot of stress in the process.

When the plantar fascia ligament becomes painful and inflamed, a condition known as plantar fasciitis may be present. Individuals with plantar fasciitis experience the most severe pain when they first get out of bed in the morning, making the first few steps of the day an agonizing experience.

Extra bone may sometimes form at the site of the inflamed plantar fascia attachment, producing a small spur that is common in patients with plantar fasciitis, but the spur itself is not the cause of the heel pain.

Heal your heels

Heel pain is caused primarily by stress in the tissue of the heel. The goal of the physician is to prescribe stress release modalities for patients. Only rarely is surgery recommended as a treatment for heel pain. Surgery is advised only if nonsurgical methods or combinations of these methods fail.

If you feel your trendy summer footwear slapping against your heels as you step, treat your heels to some cushiony pads for protection. Also, give your heels a rest sporadically by wearing a more structured and supportive shoe.

Fed up with foot pain?

Call 1-800-SCRIPPS 1-800-SCRIPPS) for a physician referral or visit our doctor finder to find a podiatrist near you.

Liked this article?

Sign up to receive health information just like this from Scripps. Our email newsletter gives you updates on a wide variety of health topics, classes, exclusive offers and more!