Why Flip Flops Can Cause Plantar Fasciitis

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Doctor examines the leg of the woman's heel for heel spurs, pain in the foot, plantar fasciitis, orthopedist

There is nothing cooler and more comfortable than a pair of flip-flops on a scorching summer day. And there are several reasons why people prefer flip-flops over any other type of shoe. They are comfortable to wear, do not keep your feet crammed up, well ventilated, and of course, come in fabulous colors and shades that look cool and stylish. Personally, I’d prefer a pair of easy-going slippers any day over lacing up!! 

Little do we actually realize that feet health is equally important, and it requires adequate support and protection when outdoors. Unfortunately, your favorite pair of cool and comfortable flip-flops are incapable of protecting your feet completely. To add to that, they are zero percent supportive and can aggravate pain if you have leg-related conditions. 

I’ve had several friends who have arthritis, and plantar fasciitis coming up to me and ask, are there any suitable alternatives to slippers? Are there any arch support slippers for plantar fasciitis? The answer is YES!! 

I decided to ask several experts, refer to various medical websites and research papers to sum it all down for people suffering from plantar fasciitis and just can’t leave their flip flops aside. Read on to know!!

Plantar Fasciitis: Symptoms and Causes

Plantar Fasciitis is most commonly associated with heel pain. Scientifically, it is an inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament. This ligament connects the heel to the ball of the foot region running through the arch. 

An inflammation and deterioration of the plantar fascia ligament due to long-standing hours and nonsupportive footwear can cause plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is prevalent with age as well as occupations involving long hours of standing.

The symptoms can be mild to severe, but the pain develops gradually. Plantar Fasciitis can cause a sharp, stabbing sensation below the foot and make it almost difficult to walk if the condition severes. The intense pain is usually sensed in the morning after waking or towards the end of the day. The condition can worsen with long hours of standing or excessive walking and activity. 

Certain people have genetic foot deformities, or their feet’ shape is originally flat, causing pressure in the arch region. On top of that, if you are overweight, you are adding pressure on the feet due to your body weight which can cause further inflammation. Non-supportive footwear has been one of the leading causes of plantar fasciitis, especially among ladies who wear shoes with high heels or ballets and flat sandals. 

Why Flip Flops Can Cause Plantar Fasciitis 

If you wear flip flops regularly for long hours, you are at a higher chance of getting plantar fasciitis, as said by orthopedics and doctors. For plantar fasciitis, an essential aspect of treatment is heel support. If you notice the structure of flip-flops, they are entirely flat and provide no protection or support whatsoever. The more flat your footwear or feet is, the more pressure your arch faces, and there are increased chances of having plantar fasciitis. 

Usually, flip-flops are considered to be very easy-going shoes. They have a very flimsy structure, and the heel area is not very sturdy either. It can slip off easily from your feet anytime and is meant for leisurewear, not support. 

Photo credit: Depositphotos

Long Term effects of Flip Flops 

Flip flops are not only the cause of plantar fasciitis but may lead to other feet associated conditions as well. Our tendons and ligaments in the feet are all interconnected. A slight condition here or there can cause pain in the entire foot eventually and spread across the whole foot region. The problems connected to wearing flip flops apart from plantar fasciitis are: 

  • Hip pain 
  • Ankle and joint pain 
  • Pain in the lower back 
  • Pain while walking 
  • Foot arch associated problems
  • Arthritis of the knees or the ankle
  • Deformed shape of feet 
  • Difficulty in performing exercises or daily tasks easily 

The list of problems associated with flip-flops is very long. To cut things short, using flip-flops for a long time and after a certain age can have negative impacts rather than providing comfort.

Injuries associated with flip flops

The issues associated with flip-flops just don’t end there. As I said before, flip-flops are not only non-supportive. They also lack the amount of protection that our feet requires. Covered shoes protect our feet against several conditions like wounds, scrapes, cuts, stones and pellets, frostbites, winters or water, and mud during the rainy season. 

Flip flops cannot protect against the conditions mentioned above. Instead, flip flops keep you at a high chance of having sprained ankles, cuts and scrapes on the feet, or even open to infections and getting wounds. 

Not just that, they have a very slippery surface below that can cause you to slip or fall during the rains. They are not safe and suitable only for casual wear for a short while more than anything else. 

Alternatives to flip flops for plantar fasciitis 

If you can’t resist wearing flip-flops and are a victim of plantar fasciitis, what can be done in that case. Well, the simplest alternative is investing in a pair of arch support slippers.

Unlike regular flip flops, arch support slippers are uniquely designed to support plantar fasciitis pressure points. By pressure points, I mean the heel and the ball of the foot, and the feet’ arch region. These slippers for arch support have a contoured shape that adjusts as per the condition of your feet. 

On getting the right size, the supportive region fits right below the pressure points, ensuring that your feet are adequately supported. Sure, these slippers for plantar fasciitis don’t offer the same protection as a closed pair of shoes or sneakers, but they are very comfortable and much better than regular flip flops in terms of support. 

They are made of high-quality foam materials that are cushiony and not totally flat as opposed to flip flops that have an extremely flat design. Arch support slippers for plantar fasciitis reduce the impact on the plantar fascia ligament and prevent the chances of foot fatigue due to plantar fasciitis as well.

Conclusion 

For the immense research that I have put in to understand why flip flops are a total NO-NO for plantar fasciitis, the GOOD NEWS is that there are alternatives. With that said, plantar fasciitis is a common condition amongst older adults now, and the sooner we reduce using flip-flops, the better. But, that does not put an end to wearing flip-flops. There are alternatives too. 

Slippers for plantar fasciitis are uniquely shaped to support the feet adequately. They may not look as stylish, but then, feet health is more important than style any day, right? 

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