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Are flip-flops damaging your feet?

July 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
While the warm weather may have you reaching to put on your favorite pair of flip- flops, some doctors warn: those fashion favorites can be bad for your health.You see them in the classroom, around town, even in the office. As the weather gets warmer flip-flops can be seen almost anywhere.

But this fashion favorite may have some fans going toe to toe with their podiatrist.

"Flip-flops are kind of like going barefoot all day long, or maybe taking a piece of cardboard and sticking it on the bottom of your foot. But it's actually worse then that," said podiatrist Dr. Marybeth Crane.

It can be worse then that because when you wear flip-flops your toes form a claw in an effort to keep them on. And when you step down your foot actually collapses.

"The center of your arch collapses and you get strain along the ligament that holds up your arch," said Dr. Crane.

The damage can be permanent.

"The twisting of your forefoot, in order to hold on the flip-flop, can pinch a nerve in between your toes and cause a permanent condition," said Dr. Crane.

But the foot's not the only part of the body feeling the pain.

"They have heel pain, arch pain, they complain that their knees are hurting, their hips are hurting. Even low back pain can be attributed to flip-flops," said Dr. Crane.

But beyond the pain, there's another problem.

"Most of the flip-flops are made out of rubbers which are just a bacteria cornucopia mixed with a whole bunch of fungus on top. So you get your athletes foot fungus just going rampant," said Dr. Crane.

So this summer, forget the flop and go for sandals with plenty of support.

"If you love those flip-flops wear them less than 20 percent of the time. Because if you wear them 80 percent of the time your feet are not going to thank you and your whole body is going to be sore," said Dr. Crane.

And that's no way to kick off summer.

 

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