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Lifestyle & Travel

5 Tips to Avoid a Flip Flop Fiasco and Protect Your Feet

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If it’s summer, it must be time for flip flops.

They’re the easiest shoe to slide into; they’re cool, comfortable (for those who don’t mind something between their toes) and relatively inexpensive. But, in fact, you may pay for it in other ways.

Flip flops are..well, floppy. And that’s not good for your feet, and everyone knows how uncomfortable you are when your tootsies aren’t happy. “Taking care of your feet and wearing the right footwear can help prevent unsightly deformities like bunions and hammertoes as well as injuries such as foot and ankle sprains,” says New York podiatrist, Dr. Suzanne Fuchs

Most of the problems with flip flops, she says, are due to lack of support and difficulty keeping them on your feet. Because you can easily fall out of them you are also at risk for falls, especially older people. They offer little protection from the elements and thus leave you susceptible to bruising or breaking a toe. And because they are usually flat without any support in the arches, your feet, muscles and ligaments have to work much harder and can become fatigued and inflamed leading to chronic pain and discomfort.

So, if you still covet a really cute pair for the season, here are five tips to avoid a flip flop fiasco and keep your little piggies protected.

  1. Limit your use of flip flops. They are great for short walks to the beach or around the pool, says Dr. Fuchs. Using them for extended periods can lead to a host of problems including blisters, heel and arch pain and plantar fasciitis.
  2. Take time to go barefoot. Do so inside your home or on soft grass or sand to stretch and strengthen your foot muscles naturally.
  3. If you want to wear flip flops occasionally, look for sturdy ones that offer some stability and arch support to prevent pain and injuries. A little heel or wedge is helpful, too, she says. If you can bend the shoe in half, it’s probably too flexible to offer the right support.
  4. If you have trouble keeping them on your feet – you may lose some muscle strength in your toes as you age -- you’d be better off wearing a sandal with a heel strap. This prevents the toes from overworking and cramping.
  5. And lastly, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your feet when you are wearing flip flops.

If you protect your feet, you’ll have a much better summer and your feet will thank you.

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