April 13, 2009

Doctor: Flip flops can cause tendinitis

The switch to summer footwear can result in flip flop tendinitis and other foot problems, a U.S. podiatrist warns.

Adapting to flip flops or sandals from closed shoes creates stress on the shin muscles as they try to balance the shoe on the foot, says Dr. Tzvi Bar-David of New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York. He advises transitioning gradually and giving muscles a chance to adapt to avoid painful shins or tendinitis.

After a long winter there may also be a lot of enthusiasm for returning to the outdoors to exercise, but Bar-David advises taking time to get proper footwear and to stretch muscles.

Sneakers should have a rigid heel counter and flexible ball of the foot. All shoes should have a comfortable toe box, be well padded and have a cushioned sole.

Heel and arch pain can occur when starting to exercise without proper stretching, Bar-David says in a statement.

Bar-David encourages stretching calf muscles for several minutes every day as well as before exercising.

Stand two to three feet behind a counter or wall placing your hands there, Bar-David says. Keep your heels planted on the ground firmly and bring your body forward thus stretching the back of the calf. Hold for one minute and repeat several times.