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Why You May Need to Give Your Flip-Flops the Slip

By Sandy Schroeder

Given a choice, many of us would really rather wear flip-flops all summer long. But if you have made it this far with no problem, you may want to think about finding a few backups, as you check the American Chiropractic Association, and WebMD’s warnings.

The ACA says shoes are the primary cause of foot disorders in women, and 78 percent of American adults over the age of 21 reported foot pain or foot issues in 2012. Ranking right up there with women’s high heels, flip-flops may be contributing to the problem.

Flip-Flop Danger Signals

No Support - We all know how easy flip-flops are to wear, but ACA says perfectly flat flip-flops provide no support for the foot. As summer heats up, plantar fasciitis rates from heel pain soar. Plantar fasciitis involves pain and inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes, according to the Mayo Clinic. The problem shows up when people wear shoes with poor support. Excess weight and lack of exercise add to the problem.

Walk Impact - Researchers say traditional flip-flips can also change a person’s gait, which may lead to problems in the hips and lower back.

Zero Protection – Stubbed toes, puncture wounds, and glass cuts are all more likely with no foot covering, according to WebMD. Doctors say broken toes and torn nails show up in ER, resulting from blunt trauma to exposed toes.

Diabetes Hazard – Lightweight, waterproof clog-like shoes, or other foot covers, are usually recommended to replace flip-flops for people with diabetes, who can run into serious foot complications with foot injuries.

Garden Hazard -  Flip-flops are no match for lawn mowers, weed eaters, shovels or hoes. They usually are not strong enough to fight power washers either. Skip the ER trip and cover your feet before you tackle the lawn.

Invitation to Bites -  Insect and snake bites case also show up in ER for both adults and children wearing sandals or flip-flops.  If you live in snake country, you probably already know boots and jeans are a better way to go.

Driving Hazard – When you are driving, make sure your shoes can’t pop off and get stuck under the brake or gas pedals. I know of a case where this happened to a teen. Fortunately, he was agile enough to quickly reach down and extract the flip-flop. But why take the chance? 

Savor the rest of summer, as you skip any trips to ER or slow-downs due to foot pain. Find some comfortable, well-supported shoes, like clogs or lightweight tennis shoes, to take over for your flip-flops and keep right on going.

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