Why your toes are in danger this summer

Getty ImagesGetty ImagesWhen the weather gets warmer, what is the first thing you want to do? Take off your socks and put on some sandals! Well, that's what I like to do anyways. But living in New York City where the sidewalks are uneven and you can unexpectedly walk several miles in an afternoon, a pair of flip-flops just doesn't cut it. And I know that thanks to Dr. Rock Positano, Director of the Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Center at the from the Hospital for Special Surgery. If you're planning on wearing flip-flops, sandals, or high heels this summer there are some things you should know.

Dr. Positano has many celeb friends and clients, and I have used him as an expert in my stories where he discussed the dangers of wearing sheepskin boots like Uggs, and what can happen to your feet after prolonged use of high heels. During these interviews he warned me also about wearing sufficient, supportive footwear when walking around the city. OK, sneakers with good arch support are obviously the best choice, but as a fashion editor you can't expect me to stay in my Nikes all summer long. So yesterday I took to the streets wearing some comfy flats from Topshop. But on my way to brunch, I tripped over an exposed, protruding manhole cover, and fell face first onto the ground. I caught my fall with my hands outstretched in front of me, but my poor toe suffered the brunt of the injury: my big toenail cracked right across the middle and was bleeding. Yuck. I went home, treated the wound, and in an act of true serendipity, I had an email from Dr. Positano waiting in my inbox. He agreed to see me this morning.

Getty ImagesGetty Images"This would have been a lot worse if you were wearing flip-flops," Dr. Positano told me while examining my x-rays. Whew, nothing broken. I admitted that I am sort of clumsy, often stub my toes and have broken little toes in the past and left them untreated. "You're lucky," he said. Dr. Positano referred me to an article he wrote for the Huffington Post last week: Sausage Toe: the New Fashion Pariah. Many women break or hurt their toes and do nothing about it, but what may seem like a harmless injury can get worse over time and remain permanently swollen like a sausage. "Lesser or small toe pain does not translate into lesser pain and disability," writes Dr. Positano. "A colleague of mine at Yale once told me that the velocity of a toe hitting a stationary piece of furniture or the bed post is between 60-80 mph." He says, "These fractures are unbelievably painful and unlike other fractures the pain can often last for months and cause disability and aches elsewhere such as the knee, hip, and back because of altered gait to avoid the pain of the injured lesser toe hitting the ground."

With that said, these are my new footwear rules for the summer:

  • Wear flip-flops only to the beach
  • Keep wearing open-toed shoes and heels to a minimum, especially when doing extended walking
  • Watch my step (there are so many distraction in the city, but had I looked ahead of where I was walking, I would have seen that giant manhole cover sticking up)
  • Take a break in comfy shoes after wearing heels
  • See a doctor ASAP if there is any toe or foot trauma

You may think a stubbed toe is no big deal, but each little piggy typically walks between 10 and 20 thousand steps a day. If your toe is hurt, go to the doctor and stay off your feet. As for me, I'll be stuck in sneakers for a few weeks, but hopefully that will keep me out of harms way for a while. [Huff Post]