Today is National Flip Flop Day! Grab your favorite pair to celebrate! Flip flops are the preferred choice of summer footwear for many people. They are easy to slip on, easy to clean, and can help keep your feet cool in the summer heat. Similar versions of flip flops have been dated clear back to the stone age in multiple varieties. Flip flops back then could be made with papyrus leaves, palm leaves, leather, wood, or rice straw. The common version of flip flops today came from a sandal in Japan called the “Zori”.  In Japan, children used the “Zori” when first learning to walk. After World War 2, many Americans brought back these sandals from Japan as novelty items, and flip flops became the prominent summer footwear for men and women in the 1960s.

Flip flops can help protect your feet when at the gym, swimming at the pool, on the beach. Wearing flip flops or any sandals or shoes at these places can help you avoid cuts and abrasions from rough anti-slip surfaces. It also helps protect your feet from sharp objects that may be hidden beneath sandy beaches. Flip flops and sandals can also help prevent contact with bacteria and viruses that can cause athlete’s foot, plantar warts, and other foot problems.

While flip flops and sandals do have their advantages in the summer, the lack of arch support and stability in them can create abnormal stress on the foot. This stress can especially affect the band of tissue extending from the heel to the toes also known as the plantar fascia. This can trigger plantar fasciitis which has become a common source of heel pain in many people. Plantar fasciitis can cause heel pain when getting up in the morning or after periods of inactivity throughout the day. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain on the bottom of the heel
  • Pain in the arch of the foot
  • Pain that increases over a period of months
  • Swelling on the bottom of the heel

This pain can be persistent and takes time to improve, but wearing supportive shoes can help prevent it from getting worse.  When shopping for summer footwear, try to find sandals and flip flops that offer you the support you need. Idaho Foot & Ankle Center also has innovative treatment options, such as MLS Laser Therapy, which can help with plantar fasciitis and injuries. This pain-free treatment can help speed up the healing process and reduce inflammation. If you have persistent heel pain or are experiencing any other foot or ankle issue, contact the foot and ankle specialists at Idaho Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Kylin Kovac and Dr. Jed Erickson have the knowledge and experience to find the right diagnosis and the right treatment plan for you. 



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