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Flip Flop Foot: Muscle Cramps From Wearing Flip Flops

Have you ever had a strange cramp in your foot (between your big toe and the next one or in the ball of your foot) after wearing flip flops all day?  Do you get sore calves or pain in the bottom of your feet?

Flip flops seem comfortable and easy to wear (I like them because they don’t pinch wide feet) but they actually create more work for your foot and leg muscles than regular shoes.  You may not realize it, but when you wear flip flops your toes must grip them extra firmly to keep them from sliding off or sideways.  So you actually contract many extra toe muscles (like the adductor hallucis and the flexor hallucis brevis) with each step you take.  Wearing flip flops for long hours can give you actual cramps in these muscles and others.

In addition to muscle cramps, flip flops have no arch support so your calf muscles and Achilles tendon have to work extra hard and can become sore.  And finally, the lack of support can strain your plantar fascia (a thin rubbery band on the bottom of your foot), causing pain at its point of origin on the heel bone.

So if you’re having foot pain or muscle cramps – it may be caused by too much flip flopping.  Of course, the cure is simple: wear comfortable shoes with good arch support and sturdy straps.  Luckily for you, summer is almost over and your feet may recover naturally as you pack up the flip flops and pull out the work shoes.This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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3 Responses to “Flip Flop Foot: Muscle Cramps From Wearing Flip Flops”

  1. Dr. Scherger says:

    This is terrific practical advice Val, thank you.

  2. RH Host Melissa says:

    Uh oh Dr. Val.  I love my flip flops!  I guess I will have to start wearing more practical shoes ….well at least some of the time

  3. JanS1 says:

    I had heard about this from a friend so was glad to read your advice.  This really makes a lot of sense and thank you so much.  I love my flip flops and I live in Florida so it’s hard to not wear them.  Until we put new tile and wood floors in my home, I was always bare footed, so I purchased more flip flops.  Well, now I will just have a great reason to put them in the garage sale and get new shoes for next summer.

    Janice, Lakeland, FL

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