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The Hidden Cost of Flip Flops

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 11:06 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2021 at 11:19 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - What kind of shoes are you wearing to protect your feet?

We’ve talked a lot about what high heels can do to your bones, especially if you stumble. But this time of year, the danger is not just how high up you are but how much your foot is exposed.  Dr. Jerry Grimes is an Orthopaedic Surgeon. He says, “As we age, your feet become weaker. And especially people whose arches are falling or have become diabetic, flip flops can be a very bad thing for our feet.”

He adds that a lot of problems could be avoided if people didn’t spend so much time in unstructured shoes. “Like a flip flop that doesn’t provide support, many people begin to have achy pain within their feet, that’s a sign that something’s going wrong, " he says.

The CDC estimates 100 million Americans are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Many are unaware that anything that slips into a sandal could become very dangerous. Dr. Grimes explains, “Many diabetics have lost a sensation on the bottom of their foot. So if they don’t have an enclosed shoe, then things like rocks or sticks can get under there and can actually create pressure points, or actually puncture the skin creating ulcers.”

Even without diabetes, flip flops and flimsy sandals are blamed for another hazard.... skin cancer. “It’s not that uncommon”, he says. “Especially melanoma on the foot is actually more dangerous there than anywhere else. We think it’s because you don’t see the changes in the mole that would trigger you to call your doctor like you might on your arm. And so they get more advanced.”

For more on protecting your feet from the perils of flimsy footwear, the full story is included on this page.

You can find Jerry Speight Grimes, MD at Texas Tech Physicians.

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