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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 September 2005, 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK
Experts warn of flip-flop hazards
Flip flops
Flip-flops can increase the risk of a number of foot problems
Flat flip-flops may be fashionable, but they are not as sensible and safe as some people may think, experts warn.

The shock of moving from heels to flats, extra pressure on the heel of the foot and blisters from the thong on the flip-flops are among the problems.

Those who wear flip-flops for more than just the beach risk accidents caused them slipping off, they add.

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists recommends a sandal with a slight heel and more support instead.

Flip-flops with a thong through the toes are the worst
Mike O'Neil,

The flatness of flip-flops is the main problem with the shoe, the experts say.

People used to wearing a shoe with a bit of a heel may find their Achilles' tendons feel tender when they swap to flip-flops.

They may also feel a tight pull either at the back of their calves or under their feet.

Having to grip the flip-flop by clenching the toes can lead to arch strain and pains - which can also be caused by the footwear's lack of support.

Sunbed dangers

The society warns that wearing flip-flops while driving could potentially be even more dangerous, as the shoes could move and become entangled with the car pedals.

It adds that people wearing flip-flops may also experience pain in the heel caused by plantar fasciitis - chronic inflammation of the connective tissue extending from the heel bone to the toes.

Mike O'Neil, a podiatrist at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Windsor, said: "Heel pain is very common - we probably see four or five new cases here every week - and we also see inner arch collapses.

"And podiatrists see lots of broken and fractured toes from flip-flops.

Mr O'Neil, who is a spokesman for the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, recommended footwear with more support, such as trainer sandals.

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