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Foot Care: Just say no to flip flops!

For residents of South Florida, the ability to wear flip flops on a nearly year-round basis is often considered to be one of the biggest perks of living in the Sunshine State.

Unfortunately, with a rise in temperature also comes a rise in the emergence of foot problems as people ditch their normally supportive shoes in favor of a pair of faulty flip-flips.

[Base Image via]

[Base Image via]

According to Dr. Goldbaum of Delray Beach Podiatry, this lack of support can cause critical problems in the arch and heel of the foot, including plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of tissue on the bottom of the foot.

“When you wear flip-flops, you have to clench your toes to keep them on,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “That’s just not a natural position for your feet and can lead to numerous other problems down the road.”

As Dr. Goldbaum alluded to, the pain doesn’t stop with your feet, as wearing shoes with little to no arch support can also result in the overuse of tendons and muscles not only in your feet, but also in hips, ankles, knees, and back.

Seniors, especially, should ditch their flip-flops for higher quality sandals or shoes that provide better support and stability in order to reduce the risk of foot problems both in the present and future.

These problems can include:

Foot Pad Damage: The rubber or fabric strap that extends from the toe post to the sides of the flat rubber sole does not sufficiently hold the foot in place. This unnatural movement of the foot on the base of the flip-flop can lead to blisters and a burning sensation in the foot pad.

Infections: Flip-flops expose your feet to thousands of bacteria and viruses which can lead to an infection if you have an open cut on your feet. A study by the University of Miami emergency mobile flip-flop lab found more than 18,000 bacteria on just one pair of flip-flops!

Gait Issues: Flip-flops cause you to walk different than your normal walking pattern when wearing supportive shoes. Stride patterns are shortened and the normal weight bearing (from heel to toe) is altered. Flip-flops alter your bio-mechanics and posture too. When your feet do not provide the proper support, your body joints have to compensate and may result in problems in your lower extremities.

Injuries and Ailments: The gripping done by your toes while wearing flip-flops can lead to the formation of a hammertoe. It can also contribute toward the formation of a bunion or worsen the condition of an existing bunion.

Dr. Goldbaum cautions that if you must wear flip-flops, shop for brands that offer arch support, and don’t wear them for long periods of time.

“Cheaper sandals like flip-flops are cheap for a reason,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “When you think you’re saving a little in terms of cost, you’ll pay for it later with severe foot pain that can even lead to back pain.”

For those who can’t go without sandels, Dr. Goldbaum recommends PropetUSA, an orthopedic shoe line made to support your feet that he carries in his offices in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

PropetUSA sells 2.5 billion pairs of shoes for men and women in various styles annually in the United States.

“PropetUSA makes an assortment of walking shoes with your feet in mind,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “They’re corrective because they provide the support that your feet are missing and comfort, which is a must.”

Follow Delray Beach Podiatry on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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