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Noreen Noelle Oswell, DPM

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Docs Say Flip-Flops Not Very Foot-Friendly
By LITA BECK

If you wear flip-flop sandals for comfort, you might want to rethink what you step out in.

Many people say they wear the sandals every day, but foot doctors say flip-flops are not very foot-friendly.

Podiatrist Dr. Noreen Oswell said flip-flopping people feel like they are wearing shoes, but the sandals were originally meant for use around the pool and the beach.

"It was never meant to be worn to the grocery store or to amusement parks or all day, running errands," she said.

"Any shoe you can fold up and put in your back pocket is not going to give you adequate support," Oswell said. "Any shoe that does not flex is just as bad."

She said shoes that bend in the arch cause strain and overuse. The strain can even stretch past your feet -- most people grip flip-flops with their toes to keep them on, leading to back pain.

"You are also overusing the calf muscle while you are doing that and putting a stretch right up the back of your leg, which pulls down on your lower back," Oswell said. "So it could lead to foot pain, ankle pain, knee pain and back pain."

People can also get injured while wearing flip-flops, Oswell said.

"I have had people trip over the tip of their flip-flop and break their toes, pull off tendons of their toes that we have to surgically attach," she said.

Too attached to your flip-flops? Look for sandals made out of leather or suede to cut down on blisters and look for flip-flops with cushioning and arch support.

"You need to take your foot health seriously," Oswell said.