The Dangers Of Walking Barefoot


Do you enjoy going barefoot after partying in your high heels? Getting out of bed in the morning? Going in and out of the shower? Walking poolside? They are all occasions when walking barefoot seems right and natural.

However, going barefoot presents certain hazards. Podiatrists, Dr. Brandi Johnson, Dr. Mark Leitner and Dr. Gloried Ebsworth want you to know the facts about going barefoot on the streets and how you can prevent injury.

Dangers of Going Barefoot

The hazards fall into 3 categories: injury, disease and support problems. To avoid each, take caution when walking barefoot.

For instance, common barefoot injuries include cuts, puncture wounds and stone bruises. While some people walk without shoes in public places and streets, it’s smarter to go barefoot in areas you know are clean and debris-free, such as your own paved patio, driveway and backyard. Even then, take care to watch where you are stepping. Inside the house, avoid stubbing your toes at night (a common cause of sprain and fracture) by turning on a light when making that trip to the bathroom or to the baby.

Further, diabetics must wear some sort of foot protection. These individuals, with their reduced wound-healing capacity, have a greater chance of serious infection from even a simple cut or scrape.

Regarding disease, athlete’s foot, a fungal infection of the soles of the feet and between the toes, is caught in wet locker rooms and pool areas. While easily cured with over the counter medications, athlete’s foot is very bothersome, causing intense itching, redness, scaling and even blistering. To avoid the fungus, wear protection in the locker room and at poolside. The National Institutes of Health also recommend clipping toenails short and straight across the toes.

Plantar warts are another infectious danger of going barefoot. Caused by contact with a virus, warts appear on the soles of the foot and sometimes on the hands. They are about the size of a pencil eraser. Avoid them with the same strategies as athlete’s foot protection and over the counter medications. Some people eliminate their plantar warts by covering them with duct tape and then shaving them down with an emery board.

Regarding support problems, plantar fasciitis develops in:

  • individuals who are overweight
  • stand in one place for long periods of time
  • wear shoes with poor arch support

This inflammatory condition involves the band of connective tissue along the bottom of the foot between the heel and the base of the toes. Heel pain is the presenting symptom. People prone to plantar fasciitis should avoid the barefoot lifestyle. Your Tampa area foot doctor recommends supportive shoes and sometimes shoe inserts, or orthotics, to prevent or treat plantar fasciitis.

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