I love my flip-flops and have always worn them often during the summer. I have never gotten hurt—until this year when the front of one shoe got caught on a stair, and I went tumbling down.

The beauty of flip-flops is that they’re airy and so easy to slip on and off. The problem is, flip-flops are naturally…well, floppy, which increases fall risk.

What’s more, you must flex your foot just to keep your flip-flops from flying off—a habit that overworks the muscles and can lead to chronic inflammation and pain, explains Sherri Greene, DPM, a podiatrist in New York City.

Of course, flip-flops are also open to the elements, which can mean sunburn, bruises, blisters—or even a broken toe if you are not watching where you’re going.

Dr. Greene advises wearing flip-flops for no more than a few hours at a time. Switch to shoes or another type of more supportive sandal when you’re walking around town or working in the yard. Also helpful…

Wear sturdy flip-flops. If you can bend the shoe in half, it’s too flexible to give good support. This can lead not only to foot problems, but also to hip and low back pain. Spend a little more for flip-flops that are made from a stronger material, such as soft leather or firm rubber, and offer more arch support.

Walk barefoot. Do this inside your house or outside on soft ground or sand that is clear of broken glass and debris (if you have diabetes or neuropathy, do not try this). Walking barefoot strengthens and stretches your foot muscles naturally. With strong feet, you’re likely to do just fine wearing flip-flops occasionally.