203 Steps and Flip-Flops: Shedding Light on Bunion Pain

James W. Rust
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Looking for something interesting to do for Valentine’s Day weekend? How about a visit to the Ponce Inlet lighthouse? Step back in time and learn about Fresnel lenses, the US Lifesaving Service, and the life of a lighthouse keeper’s family. No matter how nice the weather is, though, don’t wear your flip-flops. Climbing 203 steps to the top of the tower for the super views and 203 steps back down in this flimsy footwear could leave you with bunion pain—and a lot worse.

Why are flip-flops not a good idea? When climbing a lighthouse tower, the first reason is safety. As the name implies, these “shoes” flop around as you climb and may cause you to trip and fall. Beyond that, their thin bottoms provide no support for your arch, and precious little cushioning for the heel or ball of your foot. Without good support, the tendon along the bottom of your foot can become stretched or pull against the heel bone, causing pain. The straps don’t hold them on your feet, so you are constantly scrunching your toes to keep them on, straining your calf and toe muscles.

These factors alter the way you walk and the pressure on your foot bones. Your ankle may roll inward. The big toe may start to bend toward the others, and the joint at its base will move in the opposite direction. That makes that bony bump on the inside of your foot bigger, and you end up with bunion pain. So use flip-flops for protection from hot sand at the beach or fungus at the pool, but wear a good pair of supportive shoesat other times.

If you are developing a bunion, the experts at Atlantic Foot & Ankle Associates can answer all your questions, provide treatment, and share helpful prevention tips. Contact one of the following locations for an appointment: Daytona Beach at (386) 274-3336, Port Orange at (386) 788-6333, Palm Coast at (386) 586-7373, Orange City at (386) 775-2281, or Edgewater at (386) 957-4818.

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