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Podiatrists won’t tiptoe around this TikTok trend

Last Modified: July 28, 2023

Safety & Prevention


This post was written by Ashley M. Bojrab, DPM, FACFAS, ABPM, CWS, PPG – Podiatry.

There’s no debating that Barbie™ is everywhere right now. From pink pasta and milkshakes to the doll’s signature bright pink wardrobe palette, covering fans from head to toe. And speaking of toes … the recent rise to reclaim the spotlight has sparked a TikTok challenge, inspired by the iconic play person’s unmistakable footwear preference. Since the debut of the new Barbie movie, influencers and platform users have been taking the #BarbieFootChallenge. The trend was inspired by a scene in the film, in which Barbie walks out of her high heels and onto her tiptoes, a nod to the ever-present high arch young girls have seen for decades. Strutting with the “Barbie arch” is thought to help the legs look longer and toned, giving a visually appealing appearance.

Is it safe?

While the challenge seems harmless, from a podiatry perspective, it isn’t necessarily something I would recommend. Taking a few steps in this position won’t likely cause any issues, but walking continuously in the tip toe position, with the heels elevated off the floor, does bring some risks.

Five reasons to sit this one out

Before you slip off your heels and step out on your toes, consider these potential issues from prolonged time in this position:

  • When elevated like the challenge requires, the ankles can become unstable, which can lead to injury and ligament sprain. 
  • Repetitive pressure on the ball of the foot can cause stress fractures and/or calluses, and trigger flare-ups in arthritic joints or preexisting deformities. 
  • Walking on tip toes for long periods of time can strain the muscles in the feet and legs.
  • Walking on tip toes for long periods of time can lead to heel pain. 
  • Changing the biomechanics of the natural foot can cause issues to your knees, hips and back. 

So, go forth and be a Barbie girl, in your Barbie world. Just be cautious and hold onto something for support while showcasing your arch. (Or take a pass on the #BarbieFootChallenge altogether. You’ll still be fabulous.)

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