Flip-Flops & Foot Pain

Foot pain can affect other parts of your body and many aspects of daily life. Some foot pain can be disabling. Mobility is essential to a healthy and productive life.

We occasionally experience pain from conditions that are out of our control. Podiatrists treat those conditions as part of their everyday practice. Most frustrating are conditions caused by the patient’s aggravating footwear.

Foot Functions and Mechanisms

Your feet are the physical foundation for your entire body. Your house rests on a strong foundation. Without a strong foundation, your house will experience many structural problems. Likewise, your body is your house with many moving parts resting on your feet’s foundation. Genetic or incidental foot disorders cause serious problems with the rest of your body.

Your foot is comprised of three sections of flexible bones, joints, muscles, and tissues.

  • The forefoot contains your toes
  • The midfoot contains bones that form your arches. There are three kinds: cuboid bone, cuneiform bones, and navicular bone.
  • The hind foot consists of your heel and ankle. Your talus bone in the ankle supports the tibia and fibula leg bones. The calcaneus in your heel is the largest foot bone.

In adulthood, feet support and mobilize between 100 and 300 pounds most of our daily lives. They suffer wear and tear even if they are supported with proper footwear. But poor fitting or otherwise improper footwear can cause many common painful foot problems.

Common Painful Feet Conditions

Foot pain can result from many conditions including

  • Plantar fasciitis. Inflammation of the plantar fascia which is a ligament across the bottom of your foot. Symptoms include pain in your heel and arch.
  • Osteoarthritis. Eventually, the cartilage in your feet wears out. That can cause severe pain, swelling, and maybe deformity.
  • Athlete’s foot. This is a fungal infection that can infect your feet if they are not protected by proper foot.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. This causes pain in your foot joints.
  • Bunions. This is a bony formation next to your big toe. It is normally hereditary but can result from ill-fitting footwear.
  • Achilles tendon stress.
  • Heel spurs.
  • Fallen arches
  • Mallet toes. The middle joint of your toe will lock up causing the toe to bend down.
  • Metatarsalgia Pain in the ball of your foot is frequently caused by ill-fitting footwear.
  • Claw toes. Contraction of the toe joints results in a claw-like appearance.
  • Plantar warts. This is a viral infection in the sole of your foot forming an irritating callus.

Healthy Footware

Your feet take a beating as much as 16 to 20 hours per day. Poorly fitting shoes can lead to foot pain even while you are seated at a desk.

Proper footwear serves to

  • Protect your feet from injury
  • Support the intricate bone structure in your feet.
  • Take the pressure off your back and spine.
  • Absorb shock.

Flip Flops

Flip Flops consist of a flat rubber sole, a rubber strap anchored in the sole intertwined with your toes, no upper part covering your feet, and shaped like a foot sole.

They are attached to your foot only by the rubber strap between your toes.

How Are Flip Flops Harmful?

The principal reasons for flip flop harm are

  • They have no protection from injury or infections.
  • They have no structural support for your feet bones and joints.
  • They impede the support that your feet provide to the rest of your body.

Flip flops provide some protection against infection better than bare feet. However, they are still open and exposed to fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. Such exposure is particularly prevalent in locker rooms and public swimming pool shower rooms.

Flip flop feet are exposed to injury from

  • Cuts and bruises from falling objects or striking something sharp as you walk by.
  • Ankle sprains, fractures resulting from twisting of your ankle.
  • Trips and falls if your loose flip flop catches on something

Serious auto accidents have occurred when your flip flop catches on your brake or accelerator peddle impeding your foot movement in an emergency.

Flip flops also lead to intrinsic conditions including

• Plantar fasciitis. You walk normally with your foot raised by bending your toes and arches. The flip flops do not bend along with your feet and there is no structure on your heel. You keep your flip flop from falling off by curling your toes to put countervailing pressure on the front of the shoe.

This prolonged gripping, along with no arch support, can lead to inflammation in the plantar fascia ligament on the bottom of your foot.

• Toe deformities. The repetitive toe gripping, while not causing, can exacerbate hammertoe, claw toe, and other deformities.

When we walk our feet pronate. That is, they roll inward to distribute the impact of each foot and absorb the shock. When running the stress is three times your body weight.

Walking in flip flops causes your foot to collapse because there is no arch support. When that happens the plantar facia, a thick ligament connecting your toes to your heel bone stretches. Prolonged collapsing can cause tiny tears in the ligament.

If you are not properly pronating, from either high arches or low arches, you will develop plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, tibial tendonitis, shin splints, ankle strain, or heel spurs. These conditions can radiate upwards to your knees and back.

If you are among those who overuse flip flops you are probably showing the pain and other consequences. At Tievsky Podiatry we have the most effective treatments. Call us at 201-608-0688. Our practice is in New Jersey and New York City.

Scroll to Top
Skip to content