Flip-flops, a favorite footwear for many South Floridians, are "never safe," says Dr. Scott Strolla, a West Palm Beach podiatrist. Yes, he actually said, "never safe." Strolla practices at Good Samaritan and St. Mary’s medical centers in West Palm Beach, at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, and Jupiter Medical Center. Over the years, he has seen many foot injuries when patients wear flip-flops, including footwear that costs several hundred dollars. He defines flip-flops as a thong sandal with only a V-strap.
For diabetics, wearing flip-flops can be problematic for those with neuropathy. They don’t feel or don’t heal as well as healthy people, Strolla says. Consequently, when the V of a flip-flop cuts into the space between their big and index toes, they can’t feel it rubbing. He talks about one of his diabetic patients who insisted on wearing flip-flops despite being warned against doing so. That patient, who had neuropathy, developed a deep-space infection that led to the amputation of the big toe and part of his foot, he says and sighs.