While enjoying the summer, wearing shoes that are easy, inexpensive and keep the feet cool in the warm weather is not uncommon. Flip flops and sandals, while easy on your budget, are not easy on your body. The issue is that flip flops can cause multiple injuries if they are overused or worn improperly. Here are a few facts that you should know before hiking in a pair of unsupportive shoes all day.

1) Wearing flip flops pose an excess risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia ligament, which connects the heel to the toes and supports the arch, becomes weak and inflamed. Wearing flip flops causes a significant stretch to this arch due to their lack of support. This inevitably leads to heel pain or plantar fasciitis.

2) Separation of the flip flop from the foot while walking leads to increased knee flexion and ankle dorsiflexion during the swing phase of gait which could lead to increased risk of tripping or falling. When the flip flops separate from the foot while walking, the toes grip the bottom of the shoes in order to maintain the connection between the foot and the shoe.  This repetitive toe gripping can cause tendons, which connect the muscles to the bones, to become inflamed or ruptured. Gripping also causes the toes to contract abnormally and can therefore lead to the formation of a bunion or make an existing condition worse.

3) Flip flops can also lead to stress fractures in the bones of the feet. These are caused by the repetitive strain that the flip flops place on the feet due to the lack of shock absorption or cushioning that they give. This is why it is very important to limit their amount of usage.

4 In addition, flip flops cause an alteration of ones gait or the way they walk. This happens in a number of ways. First, the individual’s weight bearing sequence is altered from heel-toe to toe-heel, causing increased stress to the metatarsal arch and the bones near the ball of the foot. They cause stride lengths to shorten and ankle dorsiflexion to increase. There is also a faster loading rate at heel strike when wearing flip flops meaning the heel is hitting the ground harder and faster, leading to strain on the foot.

Therefore, if you plan on wearing flip-flops in the summer, consider limiting the amount of usage and selecting ones that provide better arch support. Research shows that contoured sandals are more efficient in reducing heel pain when compared to a regular flat foot flip flop. Wearing sandals in the summer is a better option as they generally provide better support and protection.

These tips should ensure everyone has a safe and happy summer.