The Orthopedist's Favorite Footwear


Flip Flops“Come ON! You’ve gotta be KIDDING me!” the orthopedist yelled into the phone when I called him for the third fracture of the morning. Meh. Wasn’t the phone calls. He’s always in a bad mood.

First, it was a patella fracture.
Then, it was a hip fracture.
Now, it was an open ankle fracture.

What was the common theme running through all of the fractures? The orthopedist’s favorite footwear: Flip flops.

The first patient’s flip flop caught on a curb and caused her to hit the concrete full force with her knee.
The second patient’s flip flop broke while she was trying to run to catch the bus. She got an ambulance ride instead.
The third patient gave herself a “flat tire” when she was running and had a nasty open tib/fib fracture with significant skin loss to her foot.

So, while the orthopedist was miserable because, well … he’s an orthopedist … the misfortune of others who take their chances wearing flip flops was sure keeping his practice busy. OK, OK, I’m kidding about orthopedists being miserable. Some of my most miserable best friends are orthopedists. Don’t go posting this to some orthopedics message board and start a flame war.

Remember, gentle readers, that if you absolutely must wear this flimsy footwear of horror, they don’t support your feet, they aren’t well-attached to your feet, and they aren’t running shoes. Walk slowly, don’t run in them, and don’t wear them out to the bars.

By the way, the maxillofacial surgeon on call for the day wasn’t quite as upset. I only had to call him once for a patient who had a blowout fracture of the orbit because of a face plant onto the asphalt while wearing flip-flops. I think that may have been more related to the large amount of alcohol he consumed immediately prior to said face plant, though.

Be sure to tune in next time as I discuss the orthopedist’s favorite piece of play equipment: The Trampoline.


This and all posts about patients may be fictional, may be my experiences, may be submitted by readers for publication here, or may be any combination of the above. Factual statements may or may not be accurate. If you would like to have a patient story published on WhiteCoat’s Call Room, please e-mail me.


  1. When I sprained my ankle several years ago I was wearing flip flops. I’m not exactly sure if they were the cause, I was walking on a slope that had been recently mowed and I went down fast, so it’s possible I might have stepped onto a pile of grass clippings and it wouldn’t have mattered what I was wearing. But months later I wore that same pair again, the front caught as I was stepping inside and I tripped and landed on both knees. I immediately threw them into the trash and have never worn flip flops since.

  2. During my childhood flip-flops were known as zoris (an imitation of Japanese shoes which were worn with tabbies). In between being called zoris and being called flip-flops, they were also known as thongs.

    I remember getting my zori caught on my coaster bicycle, and falling. Only lost some skin, though. After that I took to always carrying band-aides with me.

    A few years later, I had trouble keeping my zoris on my feet while riding my pony. Very, very, risky to wear zoris, thongs, flip-flops, or whatever else they are called; anywhere near any equines (especially if the equine is shod). And sneakers are not much safer, either.

  3. People who wear flip flops on motorcycles are idiots. But then, people who wear anything other than leather or similarly tough boots on motorcycles are idiots.

    No comments on people who ride motorcycles.

    -Paul (a motorcycle rider)

  4. I refuse to wear flip-flops. I prefer instead what my wife and kids call (with great disdain) “Dad sandals”. (Google that image and the 4th or 5th picture should be what I’m talking about.) The extra strap across the ankle gives a lot more structure to the foot protection. Still not running shoes, but for me, infinitely more comfortable.

  5. OH NO …I LOVE …I mean LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and live in flip flops in summer and always have since a kid …but especially LOVE wearing them now that I have knee pain because they are so comfortable. I even feel HAPPY when I see flip flop pictures and have a little wooden tropical painted one hanging in my car.

    That being said, I tore my meniscus for the second time because flip flop was too big and too loose and dropped down catching one of the rocks on way out to jetty and I went flying video camera and all.

    Just last week …I was trimming with big, sharp cutting sheers and the heel of one flip flop caught a little rut behind me and I was going down and should’ve dropped the sheers as I was concerned I’d somehow be impaled …but must’ve had a guardian angel because I didn’t go all the way down although I seemed to be beyond point of no return while on my way down. happened so fast. Then a couple of days later …my neighbor did hurt herself badly because she was wearing her favorite old flip flops that were worn on bottom and she slipped wet deck and fell hard ..badly bruised on back and coccyx area.

    I have so many flip flops.

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