Winston-Salem, NC -- Doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are saying flip-flops can lead to foot problems if you're not careful about where and how often you wear them.
Researchers at WFBMC said flip-flops aren't a good fit for every situation because they don't offer proper support or protection. Wearing them too often or for intense activities can lead to a variety of foot problems.
WFBMC doctors and American Podiatric Medical Association offers these tips to flip-flop wearers which can help them avoid problems with their feet down the road:
-- Shop for flip-flops made of high-quality soft leather. Leather minimizes the potential for blisters and other types of irritation.
-- Gently bend the flip-flop from end to end, ensuring it bends at the ball of the foot. Shoes of any kind should never fold in half. Do not choose shoes that are too flimsy.
-- Make sure that your foot doesn't hang off of the edge of the flip-flop. A good shoe fit is vital to healthy feet.
-- Wear a sturdy pair of flip-flops when walking around a public pool, at the beach, in hotel rooms and in locker room areas.
-- Don't wear the same pair of flip-flops year after year. If they show signs of severe wear, discard them.
-- Don't ignore irritation between toes, where the toe thong fits. This can lead to blisters and possible infections.
-- Don't wear flip-flops while walking long distances. Even the sturdiest flip-flops offer little in terms of shock absorption and arch support.
-- Don't do yard work while wearing flip-flops. Always wear shoes that fully protect feet when doing outside activities such as mowing the lawn or using a string trimmer.
-- Don't play sports in flip-flops. This can lead to twisting of the foot or ankle, as well as sprains and breaks.
According to WFBMC, flip-flops became popular in the US after World War II when servicemen brought the Japanese versions home as souvenirs.