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The Dangers of Flip Flops?

I wrote about an interesting podiatric phenomenon last summer: “flip flop foot.” Some people experience cramping between their toes after walking around in flip flops for significant periods of time.

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.

But here’s another potential danger associated with flip flops: skin cancer! Dr. Benabio over at The Derm Blog rightly points out that we often forget to put sunscreen on our feet (that may not have seen the light of day since last summer). This puts the skin of our feet at risk for blistering sunburns, and in the long term, skin cancer.

So as you enjoy the warmer weather, take good care of your feet. Walking a mile in your own shoes might be better than doing so in your flip flops.This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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2 Responses to “The Dangers of Flip Flops?”

  1. Dr Rob L says:

    So, Dr. Val, why didn’t you use the word “thong” instead of “flip-flops?”

    He he…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great points! … If you wear thongs or thong swimsuit bottoms out in the sun, be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen to your “cheeks” … as well as to the tops of your feet! :-)

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