Orthotic experts warn that wearing flip-flops can cause foot pain and foot problems like metatarsalgia. Here are some healthier alternatives
UK podiatry clinics see an increase in patients complaining of foot pain during the summer months. Paul Fenelon, CEO of foot orthotic laboratory, Langer, says that it’s mostly down to our footwear choices.
“Women wear more supportive shoes during the winter,” he says. “However once the ice has melted, they tend to slip into their airy, less constrained – and less supportive – flip-flops”.
But, sadly, our favourite summer accessory was designed to wear at the beach or pool and not for hours of shopping. And it’s the flip-flop’s basic design that’s contributing to foot problems like metatarsalgia.
The dreaded metatarsalgia
Metatarsalgia is an extremely painful condition caused by an inflammation of the ball of the foot.
“When you walk in flip-flops, you must grip the toe piece with your toes,” says Mr Fenelon. “Whilst doing this you are flexing your toes, which causes the ball of your foot to be driven hard into the ground.
“You’re using muscles out of turn and with no foot support, so you get pain across the ball of your foot and its joints – the metatarsal joints.”
But, if you refuse to be without your favourite pair of flip-flops in summer, what can you do?
Mr. Fenelon suggests that you invest in a pair of sandals with a stiffer sole, an arch support, deep heel seat and a rocker bottom. And, don’t wear the same pair year after year.
“The worst thing for your feet is to wear a pair of flip-flops that are completely beaten up,” adds Mr Fenelon. “If you’re going to wear flip-flops in the summer, buy new ones every year.”
A healthier alternative
Orthotic foot expert, Langer, has designed the new Place Sandal range with a unique orthotic footbed technology. Combining style with comfort, these summer sandals have advanced foot support and help to minimise foot fatique, all while improving posture balance and body alignment.