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Keep your feet pain-free this summer!

Sarah Wassner Flynn is a New York City-based writer. She's contributed to magazines such as CosmoGIRL!, National Geographic Kids, Runner's World, Women's Health, Prevention and MetroSports New York. She is also the author of The Book of ...

Remedy Your Aching Feet

Call it the flip-flop flap. Researchers from Auburn University and the American College of Sports Medicine recently found that your trusty thongs are responsible for more health problems than any other type of shoes, including stilettos! If you regularly wear flip-flops and are experiencing sore soles, read on for more information to keep your feet cool and pain-free this summer.

Flip Flops
The problem with flip-flops is that they cause you to take shorter steps and scrunch up your toes to keep them in place, leading to aches and pains all over your body, particularly in the feet, ankles, and legs. Plus, the lack of support in the average flip-flop can cause added heel and arch pain, especially if you have flat feet. However, the following tips can keep you from tossing out your airy summer soles so you don't have to resort to wearing sneakers on the beach.

SLIP ON SUPPORT

As cute as they may be, your dollar store sandals likely lack suitable foot support. In fact, most flat-soled flip-flops place stress on your foot with each step, causing heel and arch pain. So spend a little more on your shoes and walk pain-free this summer. Experts recommend slipping on sandals with built-in arch support and cushioning, plus a slight (1/2- to 3/8-inch) heel. Try a pair of FitFlops, or Moszkito's Archy sandals. Another option is the classic Birkenstock, which foot-shaped cork base molds to your foot, while the adjustable straps offer extra snugness.

SAVE ‘EM FOR THE SAND

If you can't give up your favorite flip-flops, reduce the time you wear them. "Flip-flops are a mainstay, but they're just not designed for that kind of use," said Auburn graduate student Justin Shroyer, who worked on the American College of Sports Medicine. Instead of sporting flat flips 24/7, he recommends saving them for the sand, to relieve your tired feet after an extra-hard workout, or to walk short distances.

TREAT YOUR FEET

And if you do suffer from the dreaded flip-flop feet, apply ice to the sore spots and pop anti-inflammatory medications to provide pain relief, or soak your tootsies in a tub of warm water mixed with Epsom salt for 15 minutes. Then, dry off and massage with moisturizer.

Calf stretches help, too. You can also do "toe raises" to loosen up tight tendons in your legs and feet.

Toe raises: Stand in an upright position and shift your body weight to your left leg. While keeping your right heel on the ground, lift your right foot's toes up and back toward your shin. Hold for five seconds, then release. Repeat for a total of 10 times, then switch legs. If needed, use a tree, bench, or wall for balance.

For more ideas on keeping your feet healthy and sexy for summer, check out these simple steps to get your feet sandal-ready for summer.

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