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Is walking in flip-flops he althy? Flip-flops are considered comfortable, light and airy shoes - perfect for summer. Nothing could be more wrong. Dr. Alina Blacha, MD, specialist in orthopedics and traumatology, warns: flip-flops are not he althy for our feet! They can lead to many deformations, often irreversible.

Is walking in flip-flops he althy?- This type of footwear can hardly be called he althy, because the foot works completely differently in them than in full shoes - says Alina Blacha, MD, PhD from the private Żagiel Med hospital in Lublin. - The toes of the feet without proper stabilization are forced to make additional movements to support the shoes. This overloads the muscles and also puts the heels at risk of injury. I am always anxious to see people running to the bus wearing flip-flops. I immediately think about the risk of injuries - says the expert.

9 reasons to give up flip-flops


- Japanese women position our feet in an unnatural way and our toes suffer the most. While walking, we contract them to keep unstable shoes on the foot - explains Alina Blacha, MD, Ph.D. hallux (the so-called hallux valgus). A thin strip located between the toes of the feet forces the work of the muscles that bring the big toe towards the other toes and deepening the formation ofhallux valgus- adds the expert.

Flip-flops do not cushion the foot, do not support it in the instep, and also force you to take shorter than usual steps. To keep the flaps from sliding off, their owners usually bend their big toes downwards, forcing their muscles to do unnatural work.

2.Hammer finger

Contraction of the toes while lifting the foot off the ground in flip-flops can also lead to the development of a hammer toe - this is a deformity that consists of flexion contracture of the toe (usually the second finger, because it is the longest) in the proximal interphalangeal joint (the so-called PIP joint) of the foot . At the same time, there is also hyperextension in the metatarsophalangeal joint.

3.Plantar fasciitis (heel spur)

Plantar fasciitis (heel spur) is an inflammation of the fibrousstructures on the sole of the foot. The symptom of the disease is pain in the heel, sometimes also in the arch of the foot, which is described as pulling, stinging, as if standing on a nail. This pain is stronger in the morning and gradually subsides.

It may also appear after a long period of sitting or lying down, then the first steps are painful. The cause of the disease may be, among others poorly selected footwear, e.g. flip-flops, which force the foot to work unnaturally. Over time, this can overload the plantar fascia and cause inflammation.

4.Ankle sprain

There is no support for the ankle in flip-flops. Wearing them, especially on uneven and stable ground, may result in injury, e.g. ankle twisting.

The thin straps of the flip-flops do not provide the foot with stabilization, and the thin and flexible sole provides proper cushioning and protection of the foot.

5.Flat feet

Flip-flops are not contoured, they have a flat, soft sole, which adversely affects the foot arch. The foot lacks any support and cushioning, which causes it to flex unnaturally. For this reason, wearing flip-flops may lead to flat feet or make them even deeper.

6.Pain in the spine and neck

Frequent wearing of unstable shoes, such as flip-flops, puts a strain on not only the foot, but also the knees, hips and even the spine along the entire section, including the cervical area. The consequence is pain in the hips, spine, neck and neck.

Japanese women will force a change in the arrangement of muscles and tendons throughout the body while walking. Walking is a repetitive activity. The longer we wear flip-flops, the greater the effect of even small changes.


Do you have diabetes? Flip flops are not for you. Contraindications for wearing flip-flops

Japanese women should not be worn by people with diabetes - especially the elderly. Walking in flip-flops increases the risk of foot injuries, which can be especially dangerous for diabetics. Even seemingly trivial abrasions and minor skin damage can be a great problem for a person with diabetes - wounds are difficult to heal and can even become chronic.

Other contraindications for wearing flip-flops are osteoarticular problems in the lower limbs and spine, metatarsal overload or muscle contractures in the toes. Overweight people, whose legs and feet are naturally subject to greater stress, should not wear flip-flops.

7.Blisters, corns, sunburn

Abrasions (especially where the skin touches the strip of flip-flops), corns, blisters - these may be the effects of frequent wearingflip flops. In addition, the skin of the feet may be sunburned, because it is completely exposed, and we hardly remember to apply sunscreen on it.


Flip-flops have an undeveloped back, which means that they absorb shocks caused by hitting the ground much less while walking. In addition, flip-flops do not fit the foot well and it is very common for the heel to run away and hit the ground directly. This increases the risk of damage and further infection.


One US study found that flip-flops are true reservoirs of germs: an average of 18,000 bacteria per pair - including staphylococcus aureus and fecal bacteria. In contact with the pavement, bare feet can become a real gate open to microbes. If you don't wash your feet well before going to bed, you'll bring the entire menagerie in.

The flip-flops should also be cleaned carefully, as there is a risk of bacteria being present on them every day, which may multiply overnight. All they need is time and moisture. Soap, rinse and dry the plastic flaps before putting them back in.

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Worth knowing

Should I give up flip-flops completely?

- This does not mean that flip-flops should be hidden in the wardrobe and forget about them, but most of all wear them in moderation to take full advantage of a well-deserved leave - advises Dr. Blacha. Of course, when using flip-flops from time to time, e.g. in the swimming pool, in the shower, or when walking on the beach, we do not have to be afraid of serious consequences. Only long-term wearing of flip-flops is harmful to the feet - adds the expert. First of all, you should:

  • wear only occasionally, for short distances (beach, hotel, swimming pool, etc.)
  • they should not be worn on hiking, sports and driving are not allowed - the foot may slip out of such shoes, which is very dangerous. Especially if the flaps get stuck under the pedals
  • foam flip-flops that do not guarantee your feet any stability are the most harmful
  • look for flip flops with thicker soles. Some have a contoured sole with a heel step
  • You should not walk in one pair of flip-flops for more than 3-4 months

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