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Is Going Barefoot Bad For You?

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Members of the older generation remember long summer days when they spent much of their time outside and barefoot. People of all ages still like to relax and dig their freed toes into the fresh earth. But conventional wisdom says that you should be wearing shoes when you are outside. Should you ever go barefoot?


Although physicians may tell you to put on a pair of shoes, they also know that you may ignore this advice. As a result, you can expect to get cuts, scrapes, and more serious wounds during the course of the summer season. If you do incur a puncture wound, you need to seek medical attention within 24 hours. This type of injury can easily become infected if it is not properly cleaned and bandaged. You also need to make certain that you are up to date on your booster tetanus shot as well.


For those of you who love the barefoot feeling, going without shoes does offer some benefits. Research shows that going barefoot can actually be good for your feet. You develop a good thick skin on the sole of your feet, so you should get fewer blisters and scrapes. Also, you escape some of the problems that shoes can cause, particularly issues caused by ill-fitting footwear. You can reduce your chance of bunions, blisters, calluses, and hammertoes. Physicians say that shoes can cause your feet to become dependent on external support instead of being able to correctly support themselves. In addition to protecting your feet, shoes can actually harm them.


Of course, for many people, the advantage of going barefoot is being closer to nature. The feel of grass or sand beneath your feet or between your toes connects you to the outdoors and all the wonderful aspects of the season: warm sun, cool water, and prickly pieces of grass. The tactile enjoyment people receive from going barefoot cannot be overestimated. Going barefoot just feels good.

When the weather turns warm, you may give in to the joy of walking barefoot, both inside and outside your home. Although this practice does expose your feet to injury, it also can make your feet stronger and keep them free of shoe-caused foot conditions. If you practice caution and seek medical treatment if you are injured, going barefoot can be a healthy and joyous experience. Ditching your shoes, at least temporarily, should be a rite of summer.

For more information and tips, talk with a personal physician, such as those at Florham Park OB/GYN Dr. Donald Chervenak MD.