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Back-to-School Foot Pain

After wearing flip-flops all summer, students head back to school with painful feet. 

The sounds of back-to-school season include the ringing of school bells and cash registers, the slamming of locker doors, the noisy ruckus of school hallways and cafeterias and the moans and groans of students over tests, homework, relationships, and increasingly, their aching feet.

Flip-flops are the summer footwear of choice for many students. But while these sandals are inexpensive and stylish, they do not cushion or support the foot, leading to problems. After wearing flip-flops all summer, some students will head back to school this fall with foot pain and even injuries. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) reminds parents and students that foot pain isn't normal and can be reduced or eliminated.

People often do not realize that even into your midteens, new bone is growing in your heel. Flip-flops do not cushion the heel, so repetitive stress from walking can inflame that heel bone growth area and cause pain and tenderness.

Heel pain and arch pain rank among the most common complaints among students who wear flip-flops. Other flip-flop feet problems students can take back to school include inflammation of the Achilles tendon, painful pinched nerves, sprained ankles, broken or sprained toes, cuts and scrapes, plantar warts, Athlete's foot and callus buildup on the heels and toes.

Foot and ankle surgeons can usually reduce or eliminate students' foot pain with simple treatment methods, including stretching exercises, ice massage, anti-inflammatory medications and custom or over-the-counter shoe inserts.

Back-to-school season will always be painful for some students, but it need not involve foot pain.