There are many reasons why board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm, might suggest you avoid going barefoot. Omitting shoes from your daily outfit put your feet at risk for these classic dangers:

  • Injuries like burns from hot pavement, puncture wounds from sharp rocks, or a twisted ankle.
  • Infections with the virus that causes plantar warts, or the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.
  • Worsening of pre-existing conditions such as hammertoes and bunions.
  • Excessive stress – when you walk around barefoot, the arch of your foot collapses. Over time, this constant compression can cause problems like flat feet and Achilles tendonitis. Plantar fasciitis is also a huge problem for people who tend to walk barefoot. Recently, podiatrists across the country have noted a distinct rise in cases of plantar fasciitis – a result of the coronavirus stay-at-home directive, which we covered in a previous blog.

One more “hidden” danger of going barefoot

Bare feet can also expose you to something you may not have thought of, Lyme disease. The organism that causes Lyme disease is carried by ticks. Ticks live in wooded and grassy areas, including the lawn in your yard. You can take reasonable precautions to prevent coming into contact with a Lyme-bearing tick: avoid heavily-wooded and grassy terrain; use insect-repellent; wear socks and shoes; and, check your entire body for ticks after spending time outside. Remember to check in between your toes if you didn’t cover them.

Going barefoot for short periods isn’t going to cause immediate harm. Your foot muscles and ligaments will enjoy this type of occasional stretching. Consistent, prolonged walking while barefoot, however, is where you might run into trouble, especially if you already suffer from a toe deformityClifton Foot & Ankle Center offers relief for Fairfax County, Virginia residents. To make an appointment, contact us online or call our Centreville office at (703) 996-3000.

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