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Paul Nelson, KSL NewsRadioThey're the foot fashion choice of many people in Utah, especially during the summer. But few people realize just how much damage they're doing to their feet by wearing flip-flops.
The air conditioner cranks up, the pants turn into shorts, and the last thing many people put on are the flip-flops. Several students at the University of Utah say the mere idea of wearing tennis shoes is just unthinkable, especially in this heat.
"It would definitely be hot."
"Provided there was no standing snow, I would still wear them."
They look nice, they're easy to use and they're comfortable for a while, but, after that apparently they do hurt a bit.
"I guess I can feel that my feet aren't in the best shape when I wear flip-flops."
"I stretch after wearing them a little bit."
We asked, "You have to stretch after wearing flip-flops?"
"Just to make sure the feet are getting the circulation."
Before you think I'm trying to scare you away from flip-flops, keep in mind, it is not this kind of story.
"The dangers of flip-flops and how they will kill you!!! Tonight at 10."
No, it's not that kind of story. Just know podiatrists say they have seen injuries from people wearing them too long or at the wrong time.
Podiatrist Terry Smith says, "We've certainly seen some significant ankle sprains. Ankle sprains that sometimes require surgical repair, that sometimes just require immobilization for a number of weeks."
Smith says some people who have a high arch support or loose ligaments in the foot can really get messed up.
"Some of those people do very poorly in a flip-flop all day long, because their foot needs more external support and the flip-flop doesn't provide that," he says.
Smith says they could also lead to things like calloused heels, overworked sole ligaments and a condition called hammer-toe, where a toe is permanently bent.
"We see painful corns and painful joints as a consequence of that," Smith explained.
Some podiatrists across the country say they're treating 16-year-old girls for complaints they normally see in much older and fatter people, all because these girls are wearing the wrong kind of shoe.