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Are Flip-Flops Killing Your Feet?

Some bad news about your go-to summer shoe may cause fashionistas who love their flip-flops to flip out! The American College of Sports Medicine reported that the ultra-comfortable and stylish shoe staple is bad for your health! iMag turned to Dr. Laurie Weisenfeld, a renowned podiatrist, to size up the findings and deliver the feet facts.

iMag: Why are flip flops so bad?

Dr. Weisenfeld: Flip flops generally do not provide the type of support that most of us need for prolonged walking or standing. In addition, they are usually too flat for most people. This can lead to pain and fatigue in the feet, calves, Achilles tendon, shins or lower back. Flip flops are fine for lounging at pools, parks or the beach, but many people overuse them and choose them as their all-purpose summer walking shoes.

iMag: What smart shoe choices do you recommend for the same comfort and fashion sensibility?

Dr. Weisenfeld: Athletic shoes are always a good choice for longer walks or standing, but if the situation requires a dressier shoe, pick one that offers good arch support and a sturdy, low heel. Flat shoes that are lacking in support can be converted into a more comfortable shoe by inserting an arch support like ProFoot’s Aero-3, which is topped with a memory foam that cushions and molds to the foot.

Also, The American Podiatric Medical Association has a seal of approval program that lists shoes that are recommended. This list can be found at

iMag: What advice do you have for people who may encounter long-term health effects?

Dr. Weisenfeld: Foot pain is never normal. Anyone who is experiencing foot pain on a regular basis should seek the advice of a podiatrist. Podiatrists are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the feet.

iMag: Are there any tips to prevent future foot damage?

Dr. Weisenfeld:
• Add arch supports into shoes that may not offer the comfort of your favorite sneakers. Many people can use over-the-counter supports, like the Aero-3, but some people may need custom-made shoe inserts called orthotics.
• If you wear high heels all winter long, gradually lower the heel height before running around in summer flats. Stretching your calves regularly can also prevent the leg tightness that makes wearing flatter shoes uncomfortable.
• Avoid sandals that have thin straps cutting over boney prominences like the big toe joint or prominent tendons on the tops of the feet.

Dr. Lori S. Weisenfeld, a renowned New York City sports podiatrist, has been treating athletes, dancers and performers from around the world for almost twenty years. Dr. Weisenfeld is a Clinical Advisor to the American Running and Fitness Association. As a Fellow of the American College of Podiatric Surgeons and the American College of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine, she is board certified in both podiatric surgery and podiatric orthopedics. She is on staff at Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York Downtown Hospital and the Gramercy Surgery Center in NYC.

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