Let’s face it, after a long day on our feet its nice to come home and take off our shoes and/or socks and just relax. At our office we often hear our patients tell us that as soon as they get home, they take off their shoes and walk around the house, garage and/or yard barefoot. Is barefoot walking a good thing?
Here at Advanced Foot and Ankle Center, the answer to this question is NO. Our feet were made to absorb shock but there is precise engineering of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. The skin on the bottom of each foot is much thicker than the skin on the rest our body. We have more bones and joints in our feet than anywhere else in our body and thus our feet can adapt to various terrain with and without shoes. So why is barefoot walking not advised?
Barefoot walking increases the chance of injury and infections. Diabetics who often have decreased foot sensation and compromised immune systems subject themselves to a big infection and injury risk when walk barefoot. We have seen diabetic patients with neuropathy present to our office with foot infections as a result of stepping on a nail or screw while barefoot. For a diabetic this could be a limb threatening event.
For non diabetics walking barefoot, the risks of stepping on a foreign body, kicking a chair leg or getting bitten by an insect or spider can cause some serious foot problems. A foreign body on the bottom of the foot can cause a severe foot infection and they can also be quite challenging to remove surgically. It is not uncommon for some foreign body removal to require an x-ray in surgery to accurately locate the foreign body.
Our advice is to find a comfortable house shoe or slipper to wear instead of walking barefoot. There are many house shoes that have a “memory foam” bed liner that are very light weight and comfortable. In our Foot Store we carry Lyncos Flip Flops that are light weight and are made with a conforming material that also provides excellent arch support.
Please direct all questions regarding barefoot walking to [email protected] or call us at 972-542-2155.