Learn about the health hazards associated with flip flops

When the weather warms, you may want to kick off your sneakers in favor of a pair of flip flops. But is this comfortable summer footwear dangerous for your health?

For more information, or to find a primary care doctors, visit www.UPMC.com/PrimaryCare or call 1-855-676-UPMCPCP.

Wearing improper footwear can cause discomfort and a variety of problems — including foot fungus, balance problems, and blisters.

RELATED: 4 Simple Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy

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Foot Safety and Flip Flops

The problem with flip flops is all in the construction. The health hazards associated with wearing flip flops include:

  • Most flip flops feature a thin rubber sole that provides little arch support, which can result in foot pressure and pain.
  • Flip flops offer no ankle support, which can contribute to injury and balance problems.
  • Flip flops also offer no support to the Achilles tendon, which can become sore or strained if overextended.
  • With their open design, flip flops provide minimal protection against the natural wear and tear that occurs when walking.
  • They do not provide a barrier between your skin and the dirt and debris you may encounter.
  • Flip flops can worsen existing problems with your feet and posture.
  • The thong that rests between your big toe and second toe can cause friction and blisters. And if exposed to bacteria, infections can develop between the toes.

Dos and Don’ts When Choosing Flip Flops

If flip flops are your favorite summer footwear, you can keep yourself safe in a few simple ways. Shop for flip flops designed with additional arch support. You can even opt for more supportive sandals with ankle and foot straps — these shoes provide the breathability of flip flops with added support.

When choosing a pair of flip flops, do:

  • Shop for leather flip flops or sandals made from thicker, more supportive materials. This helps provide better arch support and minimizes blisters and callouses;
  • Ensure your feet do not hang over the edges of the flip flops;
  • Ensure the soles of your flip flops are strong enough that they cannot bend in half.

Do not:

  • Wear flip flops with deteriorating soles
  • Wear flip flops while doing heavy lifting, athletics, or yard work
  • Wear flip flops during long walks or while on your feet for extended periods of time

About Primary Care

The relationship with a patient and their primary care doctor can be extremely valuable, and that’s what you get with UPMC Primary Care. When you work with a primary care physician (PCP), you develop a lasting relationship. Your doctor will get to know you and your history and can plan your treatments accordingly. Our PCPs offer a variety of services, including preventive care and treatment for both urgent and chronic conditions. With dozens of UPMC Primary Care locations across our network of care, you can find a PCP close to you. Schedule an appointment today.