Warm summer weather may tempt you to strip off your shoes and enjoy being barefoot, but think twice before skipping your footwear! Walking barefoot on the beach, during a hike, in your yard, or on the sidewalk comes with potentially serious risks. Podiatrists advise that you keep your shoes on this summer—especially if you are immunocompromised or have decreased sensation in your feet.
If you cannot resist the urge to go barefoot, follow these steps to keep your feet as safe as possible.
Remember to apply sunscreen on your feet, especially the tops and fronts of your ankles.
Have a backup plan. “It’s always nice to go barefoot, but you do not know what lurks below,” said APMA member podiatrist Priya Parthasarathy, DPM. “It’s better to have a pair of sandals on hand.”
Test surface temperature before walking barefoot, especially with children, Dr. Parthasarathy advised. It could prevent serious burns and injuries.
Always look a few steps ahead and try to stay on even ground.
Before going barefoot, check your feet for any open cuts, which might increase the chances of infection. If you notice one, wash your feet right away. Then, apply a dressing and reduce your activity level.
The Bottom Line on Barefoot Safety?
Podiatrists always advise wearing shoes to protect your feet. If you do choose to go barefoot this summer, be smart about it. And if you sustain an injury or experience foot pain, see your podiatrist right away.