Health Hazards of Summertime Fashion

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - They’re fun and fashionable flip flops, and the problems with them you probably never thought about.

They're no longer just drug store specials, flip flops are now a summertime craze.

They have their place in your closet, but they're not meant to be worn anytime, anyplace, or you could be asking for foot problems.

They are the symbol of summer, but the pitfall Jimmy Buffett made famous in margarita Ville, "I blew out my flip-flop. Stepped on a pop top. Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home,” might happen more often than you think.

Flip flops are very common and very popular, especially with young women.

"Women from the age of 15 to 25 are seeing a lot more heal pain and stress-related injuries from that,” Podiatrist Kendale Ritchey says unlike other shoes, flip flops aren't good for extensive walking, because they offer no arch support, heel cushioning or shock absorption.

And people can suffer foot pain due to lack of arch support, tendonitis and even sprained ankles if they trip.

"It doesn't have any support in your arch, which allows excessive motion in the feet. And when you wear it for long periods of time, you'll end up overusing the muscles, and the tendons and the joints,” Dr. Ritchey says.

Because flip flops offer little protection, you're also at greater risk for stubbed toes, glass cuts, puncture wounds or having a heavy object smash your foot.

Don't run or play sports in flip flops, which can lead to sprained ankles, fractures and severe ligament injuries that can require surgery.

And never wear flip flops to do yard work, that can result in injuries from outdoor equipment.

"There's a place for flip flops. I think if you're going to go out and wash the car, or you're going to a movie and you're going to be sitting around with your feet elevated, that's fine,” adds Dr. Ritchey, “but for long-term walking-type activities, it's not such a good thing."

Not even in Margaritaville.

Also, remember, if you're driving, flip flops can come off the foot and lodge under the brake or gas pedal.

And don't forget, if you wear flip flops, your feet need sunscreen too.

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