While walking barefoot is common in the warmer months of summer, it can lead to serious foot injuries. Walking without foot protection can be especially dangerous for those with diabetes and suffer from peripheral neuropathy. Not wearing shoes puts you at risk for injuries to the bottoms of your feet that you may not feel due to the loss of sensation from nerve damage. You may not even realize you have injured your foot until it becomes severe. Those with diabetes often have poor circulation, and this can make it hard to heal from an injury. Our Texas podiatrists explain the dangers of walking barefoot and share some tips on how to prevent injuries to your feet.
Common Types of Barefoot Injuries
Walking barefoot leaves your feet unprotected and puts you at risk for injury. These injuries can occur when walking indoors at home, at the beach or pool, in your back yard, or a gym locker room. If you are diabetic, it is important to protect your feet by wearing socks and shoes at all times.
Possible Barefoot Injuries
- Cuts and abrasions. You can suffer these types of wounds after stepping on rocks, seashells, glass, or other debris. If you have a loss of feeling in your feet, you may be unaware that you have injured your foot.
- Thermal burns. You can burn the bottoms of your feet if you walk on hot surfaces such as concrete, sand, or asphalt. If you have nerve damage, you may not realize you’ve suffered a burn injury.
- Foot ulcers. If you stub your toe and aren’t wearing shoes, you can develop a foot ulcer that doesn’t heal.
- Infections. You can pick up a fungal infection or plantar warts from walking barefoot in a public area such as a public shower, pool, or locker room.
Additionally, if you are diabetic and have a wound that does not heal or is slow to heal, you can suffer serious complications.
Possible Complications of a Diabetic Foot Wound
- The wound can become infected, and the infection can spread to surrounding tissue or bone
- An infection can lead to gangrene
- If the infection cannot be stopped from spreading, amputation may be needed to save your life
Tips From Our TX Podiatrists for Preventing Barefoot Injuries
Not every injury can be prevented, but avoiding walking barefoot can reduce your risk of injuring the bottoms of your feet. There are also other ways to help keep your feet healthy and injury-free.
Tips for Maintaining Healthy Feet
- Do a regular self-check of your feet, looking for any signs of injuries or abnormalities. Be sure to check all areas of your feet and between your toes.
- Wash your feet daily, and dry them thoroughly after bathing.
- Apply moisturizer to your feet but never between your toes.
- Wear clean, dry socks inside of your shoes to protect your feet.
- Choose shoes that are supportive and fit properly, so you don’t develop blisters.
- Wear the proper type of shoes for the activity you’re involved in. For example, beach shoes or water shoes can be worn if you’re walking on sand or in the ocean.
- If you’re in a public area such as around a swimming pool or a locker room at the gym, wear shower shoes or flip-flops to protect your feet from fungal infections or plantar warts.
- Contact a podiatrist at the first sign of an injury or problem. Treating a foot injury at its earliest stages can help prevent more serious complications.
If you like walking barefoot or are experiencing foot pain, contact Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists for a consultation today. We can create an individualized treatment plan based on your specific needs. To request an appointment, contact our Grapevine or Keller office by filling out our convenient contact form, or by calling our office at 817-481-4000.