With the long days of summer continuing, many of us are spending more time outdoors. Lounging around the pool or the beach often includes kicking off our sandals and letting our feet do the walking. While this activity may seem natural, there are some risks to ditching our shoe protection from hazards on the ground.
This is one of the most common foot conditions in my office and can develop in situations where our feet are put under more stress than they’re used to. Most of us wear shoes all year and may not have the muscle strength our feet need for long periods of being barefoot. The stress of barefoot walking may cause strain on the bottom of the foot and heel and lead to tightness, pain and inflammation. Walking on uneven surfaces without adequate support can also exacerbate this condition.
Unprotected feet are also more susceptible to burns on hot surfaces. Patients who suffer from diabetes are at greater risk, since they may not adequately feel temperature or pain when their feet are in trouble. When walking on hot surfaces (such as sand or pavement), footwear is always recommended.
As discussed in a previous blog, feet are often overlooked when it comes to protection from the sun. Application and reapplication of sunscreen, wearing protective water shoes or staying in the shade all help reduce the sun’s harmful effects and protect against this deadly disease.
Skin Wounds or Trauma
These injuries are much more common in the summer months. Walking barefoot can lead to cuts, scrapes and puncture wounds from glass and other sharp objects. Footwear is the best way to protect against these kinds of injuries.
Whirlpools, hot tubs, public showers and saunas can be havens for certain bacteria, fungi and viruses that cause a foot infection. A pair of supportive sandals or flip-flops keep your feet off of dirty surfaces that could lead to unwanted infection. Protect your feet this summer and have fun!