The scorching summer blaze is on. And coming back home after a gruelling day, the first thing you want to do is to slip off your shoes and socks and go barefoot. After all, it is so liberating and relaxing to walk barefoot at home!
But are you aware that walking barefoot at home can negatively impact stride and overall foot health? Walking barefoot on hard surfaces allows our foot to collapse. It can very well lead to a tremendous amount of stress not only to the foot but to the rest of the body and can prove fatal at times! U.S. Podiatrists say, giving in to the urge of walking barefoot in summer can result in injuries and even a loss of toes. Especially those with diabetes should never go barefoot, even indoors, because their nervous system may not “feel” an injury.
Yes. We agree that walking barefoot, especially at home, is nothing but bliss. Whatever the surface, grass, tarmac, soil or sand, it feels lovely! But turns out, there is more to it than just ‘feeling nice’. There are potential dangers of walking or exercising barefoot especially when you are otherwise used to wearing shoes.
Here are a few basic points which should be kept in mind before going barefoot.
- There are some intrinsic threat sallied with walking shoeless all the time. You are more susceptible to sharp objects like prickles or flint cutting your feet.
- Our feet are designed to walk on soft, natural, undulating surfaces. Walking between 5,000 and 10,000 steps a day on flat surfaces causes unnatural stress on foot structures. So your floor gives out additional stress to your feet when you go barefoot.
- Expert Podiatrists say, within a gait cycle we naturally pronate (move our feet inward to absorb shock and distribute weight) 15% inward to come complete contact with the ground, which can support the body weight without any problems. But when we go barefoot, even at home, we pronate for a longer period. It changes the biomechanics and distribution of pressure and weight across the foot. This lack of balance might surge the progression of foot deformities like bunions, hammertoes, and so on. It can also lead to painful conditions in other parts of the body like heel pain, shin splints, tibial tendonitis, and Achilles tendonitis.
- Walking barefoot at home leads to bacterial and fungal infections. These infections first attack the skin, and later might affect that nails, leading to thickening, discoloration, and brittleness. Diabetics are more prone to such infections usually called Athlete’s Foot.
- Walking barefoot usually changes the normal hydration process of foot skin. As a result, the texture and turgor of the skin change gradually, leading to fissuring and cracking.
- If your bathroom, kitchen, poolside have dark and moist flooring, striding barefoot should be strictly avoided. Because these areas are more infection-prone. Avoid walking barefoot inside the house, in most places, unless absolutely necessary say, Podiatrists.
Well, the question that is bound to arise at the end is, then we must never go barefoot even while at home? The answer is, sometimes you can, but very cautiously and carefully. Podiatrists suggest that anyone who has an infection should not be walking barefoot in the house to avoid contamination. They endorse spraying disinfectant liquids while mopping the floor to help kill any microbes that may cross contaminate.