Foot problems: The flaws in flip-flops - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Foot problems: The flaws in flip-flops

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Summertime means summer sandals, but they could be ruining your feet, especially when you talk about flip-flops. Doctors say flip-flops are causing or making worse foot problems in people of all ages.

Most people have them; they're becoming more fashion than fad. But, podiatrists say the problem is flip-flops can actually change the way you walk and not for the better.

Podiatrist Doctor Michael Ward is seeing more foot problems coming along with the popularity of flip-flops.

"We see a lot of ankle problems. We see a lot of rear foot problems. We see a lot of heel spurs, Plantar Fasciitis that occur," Dr. Ward, of Dubuque Podiatry, said.

It comes down to support -- or a lack thereof.  Also, flip-flops make people take shorter strides, changing your gate altogether.

"They don't have the heel counter and the support and good cushion, so they have a lot of problems because the laxity that they have with the heel and the ankle," Ward said.

At the Shoe Shack in Dubuque, customers come looking for foot-friendly shoes.

"We get a lot of people coming in who are having a lot of foot problems and most of the time, they'll walk in wearing flip-flops, and they get a lot of arch pain, heel pain," Assistant Manager Renee Cochenour said.

That being said, there are summer sandals that won't ruin your, even some flip-flops. Shoe Shack carries a couple of different brands and styles.

"You want something that's going to offer more contour underneath your arch. You don't want something that's going to allow youto have your foot flatten out as you're walking with each step. You want something that's going to provide more support," Cochenour said.

Ward adds,. you don't have to throw away your five dollar flip flops.

"Flip flops are not good for long periods of time. Flip flops are fine for what they were designed for, and that would be on the beach or for short periods of time," Ward said.

The Shoe Shack also says you'll have more difficulty and even pain wearing flat flip-flops if you're used to wearing athletic or supportive shoes.

Ward says kids need just as much support in shoes, so he says the same goes for them. Flip flops for short periods are fine -- but not for longer walks and definitely not running.

Online Reporter: Jamie Grey

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