Ah, the good old summertime - it's finally upon us, bringing warm temperatures, sunshine, and lighter clothes. You might also be in the mood to feel the breeze on your toes in a colorful pair of flip flops.

Unfortunately, this footwear favorite is not favored by podiatrists, or by patients who have foot, ankle and leg pain or have Bunionsdeveloped malformations such as bunions. Bunions are a serious misalignment and swelling of the large joint at the base of the big toe. This destructive and painful condition causes the joint to actually turn the big toe inward toward the second and even third toe of the foot.

Why do flip flops cause bunions?

Flip flops cause bunions because:

  • most flip flops are very flat and offer no durable support to the bottom of the foot, particularly to the arch
  • people who wear them must grip the flip-flops with their toes, especially the big toe
  • flip flops change the way individuals walk, placing more weight toward the front of the foot rather than on the heel where more stress naturally belongs

Unfortunately, when the pain and deformity from bunions becomes serious enough, foot doctors or orthopedic surgeons must do surgery to make the foot and gait normal and to relieve swelling and pain.

Flip flops cause other foot problems, too.

Flip flops contribute to arthritis in the bones of the foot. They also cause inflammation of the plantar fascia or ligament that runs from the heel to the base of the toes. Burisitis, a swelling of the fluid-filled bursa or sacs which provide cushioning and support in between the toes, is also linked to wearing flip flops.

Must you discard your flip flops?

Rather than getting rid of them altogether, you should at least get rid of your cheaply made flip flops and invest in a pair of quality ones. Quality flip flops, often bearing the seal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, have features that will support your foot, rather than hurting and irritating it:

  • deep, padded heel cups
  • sturdy soles with good arch support
  • comfortable straps that do not chaff or put undue pressure between the toes

In addition, while flip flops are almost a necessity poolside, on the beach or in showers and locker rooms at the gym, you should limit the amount of time your wear them. Do not take long walks in flip flops or wear them from morning to night.

Ask Your Houston Foot Doctor About Flip Flops and Bunions

At Coastal Foot & Ankle Associates, Mark H. Moss DPM FACFAS and Hina S. Hassan DPM AACFAS offer comprehensive care for your feet, and work diligently to promote podiatric health for patients of all ages. To discuss the connection between summer footwear and bunions, call one of their conveniently located offices for an appointment. In Pearland, Texas, call 281-485-2988. In Houston, phone 281-484-2400. Doctors Moss and Hassan would be pleased to help you keep your feet happy and healthy.