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Going Barefoot: Safety Tips

Every year, people look to enjoy the warmer weather and simple pleasure of going barefoot, walking on the beach, wandering their local park or enjoying your own backyard. Yet, each year at this time, the number of patients we treat for cuts, puncture wounds and other barefoot injuries, increases at this time of year. Here are some tips to help you and your family have a safer barefoot summer.

Barefoot Walking

Contact Our Office within 24 hours of Suffering a Puncture Wound

Although unseen, bacteria are everywhere. With this type of injury, you can introduce you can plant and trap bacteria deep into the tissue. In order to avoid the complications of tissue and bone infections, damaged tendons and muscles, care must be taken to properly clean the area and monitor the healing process.

Don’t Forget to Apply Sunscreen to the Tops and Bottoms of Your Feet

As mentioned in an earlier blogpost, (see Summer, Sun and Cancers of the Skin), cancer occurs on the feet as well, including melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Neglecting the feet when applying sunscreen increases risk for this potentially life threatening skin condition. Not recognizing this on their feet leads to a later diagnosis and poorer prognosis.

Wear Flip-flops or Sandals Around Swimming Pools, Locker Rooms and Beaches

Protect your feet! Prevention is the best form of treatment. A simple sandal or flip flop will help you avoid cuts, and abrasions. Sandy beaches and murky water hide the ability to see sharp objects or rough surfaces below. Even 10 feet out in the water, where there is sand everywhere, a cinder block could be lurking. Last summer, my sandals prevented me from getting a cut which would have introduced Lake Michigan’s finest bacteria and fungi. If you frequent the pool, wear this protective layer to avoid planters’ warts and athlete’s foot.

Routinely Inspect Your Feet and Your Children’s Feet for Skin Problems

Because going barefoot increases your risk, check your feet for changes. The sooner it can be treated, the easier the treatment. This holds true for athlete’s foot, warts, calluses and other skin prob¬lems. So, inspect your feet regularly!

Use Caution and Common Sense

Please be careful! Every year, people lose toes while mowing the lawn barefoot. This year, my colleagues and I have treated three lawnmower injuries. None were from barefoot lawn mowing, but if it were, the injuries would have been much more severe. If camping or lighting off your remaining fireworks, avoid serious burns from stray campfire coals or fireworks by wearing foot gear. As mentioned above, murky rivers, lakes and ponds can conceal sharp objects underwater. As we mention to every patient with diabetes, never go barefoot, even indoors, because with diabetes comes decreased sensation, and decreased circulation to heal the cuts, scrapes, or breaks in the skin.

Image: – barefoot on the beach