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Do flip flops cause heel pain?

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Do flip flops cause heel pain?
Flip flop sandals are commonly worn in the summer, and often year round in warmer climates.  These sandals have varying degrees of construction quality, but most fit into a category of inexpensive and poorly supportive footwear.  Most flip flops, especially those found in discount department stores, resort boutiques, and many discount shoe retailers are simply rubber or foam soles with a strap to help the toes keep the sandal on.  In general, these sandals have no structural support and the foot functions essentially as it wound barefoot.  The sole of the sandal offers protection from sharp objects, without offering any other function.  The strap required to keep the shoe on actually causes more strain to the foot as the effort to keep the sandal from slipping by gripping the toes forces the foot to use muscles abnormally.
Flip flop sandals can contribute to heel pain in the same way that barefoot walking causes strain to the plantar fascia.  Because the sandal provides little to no support, the arch becomes just as strained as would be seen with barefoot walking, perhaps even more so because of the gripping motion needed to keep the sandal on.  What results is a greater tendency towards plantar fasciitis than with the use of a standard shoe.
Some flip flop sandals are designed better, and do have increased arch support with better quality materials in the sole.  There are several brands on the market designed for just such a purpose.  Our doctors can discuss these sandals with you, as new products are introduced every year to the market.

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