Lack Of Arch Support In Flip-Flops May Trigger Foot Problems

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   (2012-07-19 00:00:00)

Washington: Flip-flops may be a fun summer shoe and flats may seem fashionable, but wearing them continuously may cause problems in one's feet, experts have revealed.

According to the National Foot Health Assessment 2012, 78 percent of adults aged 21 and above have had at least one foot problem in their lives, with ankle sprains topping the list.

Blisters, calluses, foot fatigue, cracked skin and Athlete's foot are the other reasons why feet gave many people problems.

Wearing flip-flops, flats and other type of shoes that don't provide arch support may contribute to people's toe troubles.

In the case of flip-flops, not only do the thin rubber soles give people's feet zero arch support, also their ankle is free to move about.

According to Dr. David S. Levine, foot and ankle surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, this led to twisted ankles especially for those who wore flip-flops with a slightly higher heel.

"If that foot is unbalanced or has a pronated or lower arch, that's a foot that is begging for support," CBS News quoted Levine as telling HealthPop.

"It is begging for that person not to gain weight. It's begging for that person to keep their Achilles tendon stretched," he said.

It's not that shoes without arches are bad for everyone. Levine said that if a person has a well-balanced foot, which means if their arch is not too high or too low, there's no problem with wearing flip-flops.

And, if they restrict their wear to when they're doing low-impact activities, they shouldn't have that many foot problems.

Walking or hanging out with friends is fine, Levine said, but people shouldn't try to wear their flip-flops when they're playing tennis.

Problems can occur when people have too-high of an arch, or in most cases a low-lying arch.

If a person has an unbalanced foot to begin with, arch problems can occur even more often, whether they are wearing flip-flops, ballet flats or any other type of unsupported footwear.

Foot fatigue is inevitable, and especially if people were overweight.

According to the National Foot Health Assessment 2012, very overweight people were more likely to rate their foot health as fair or poor and were more likely to be experiencing a foot issue and a foot issue that caused a high level of pain.

"There's a natural tendency for an arch to settle over time as we become heavier, older and a little less capable of repair," Levine said.

"Our Achilles tendon tends to give way to supporting an arch," he said.

Wearing shoes that constantly rubbed against the foot may also lead to blistering and fungal infections, Levine said.

While some people couldn't avoid foot problems - even people who don't wear shoes get bunions, which showed some health concerns are hereditary, Levine pointed out what type of footwear that people decide to put on makes a difference.

If people wanted to show off their toes, then they should aim for sandals with arch support like Teva-brand shoes.

And, for proper arch support and to keep their feet happy, shouldn't be afraid to wear some sneakers, Levine said.

"If you wear a good pair of lightweight Nike shoes that has laces, you'll notice 'There's a little bounce and pep in my step,'" he added.