Dr. Michael Loshigian, a podiatrist and foot surgeon at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital and spokesperson for the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (www.footphysicians.com), discussed the dangers of flip-flops on The Early Show.
Flip-flops are meant for short walks to and from the beach, not for everyday use. A thin bit of foam rubber that separates your feet from hot sand, sidewalk or pavement isn't meant to be your everyday footwear.
Statistics prove that the lack of arch support from these sandals increases the likelihood of a foot injury.
"The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons has an increase in reported injuries every spring and summer directly related to wearing (flip-flops) too much," Loshigian said. "So people develop strain in their heel and their arch. Ankle injuries, ankle sprains and ankle fractures are actually becoming more common."
The thong that goes between your toes can also be a problem. Loshigian said, "In people, especially those who have sensitive skin or circulatory onditions and conditions such as diabetes that make their feet more prone to injuries and infections, this can be a point of irritation that can lead to infection."
While using a skeletal foot, Loshigian was able to clearly show the weak support that a flip-flop gives. "The standard beach flip-flop is very flat and really supports the arch very little," Loshigian said. "This is part of the reason that these sandals are really not good for long-term wear."
There are safer alternatives for those in need of comfortable summer footwear. As examples, he displayed a pair of sturdy sandals and the popular Crocs.
When choosing a safer sandals, Loshigian said you should look for a good tread pattern on the bottom of the shoe. The inside of the sandal should be molded to fit the arch and cup the heel. Having a strap around the back of the heel adds additional support.