After a long winter of wearing wool socks and waterproof boots, it can be tempting to slip into a pair of flip-flops at the first sign of warm weather. But before setting your toes free, pause to consider the impact your footwear has on the health of your feet.
In the video below, podiatric surgeon Dr. Jacqueline Sutera explains to Business Insider why flip-flops are a podiatrist’s worst nightmare. The sole itself offers little support or stability, which can lead to inflammation, tendonitis, and ankle sprain. Then there’s the strap holding it to your foot: Even if you’re not aware that it’s happening, this flimsy set-up causes your foot to over-grip, potentially spurring foot cramps and bunions.
A day of traipsing down the boardwalk in your flip-flops can be harmful, but the shoes you squeeze into before going out at night can cause even more damage. Wearing high heels regularly is connected to problems ranging from weak ankles to lower back pain. Whether your shoes are built at a 45-degree angle or are as flat as the ground beneath them, there are some steps you can take to ensure they don’t cause long-term issues.
The easiest way to protect your feet is to mix up your footwear. It doesn’t hurt to wear flip-flops to the beach or heels to the club, but don’t forget to pack some sneakers in your bag for when you hit the pavement. When you do shop for flip-flops or heels, it helps to choose shoes with supportive arches and plenty of cushion. And if you still find swelling, blisters, or bunions on your feet after all that, a 15 minute soak in warm water should relieve some pain.
[h/t Business Insider]