Walking barefoot offers a delightful pleasure, especially after a long day at work or an intense workout. But is adopting this as a routine genuinely beneficial for our health? Let’s dig into this subject!

In a conversation with Board-certified Internist and Cardiologist Dr. Juan Rivera, mitú explored the topic. He clarified why walking without shoes isn’t as beneficial as it may appear.

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Dr. Rivera explained that walking barefoot every day “is not a good idea”. Adding it is the primary risk factor for triggering a condition known as plantar fasciitis, which is painful and potentially affects the ability to walk properly.

The situation becomes even more complex when we consider a specific group — individuals with diabetes, including many within the Latino community. 

Dr. Rivera pointed out, “For them, barefoot walking is a disallowed territory because of their often compromised nerve sensitivity.”

He also mentioned: “They might have an unnoticed cut on their foot since they don’t feel it, and it can lead to infections and subsequent severe health complications.”

It involves not just avoiding barefoot walking but also choosing appropriate shoes for every activity

Dr. Rivera also mentioned it’s important to wear the right shoe. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), using open sandals for long periods can bring pressure on the toes and the emergence of bunions.

Addressing flat shoes and slides, APMA warned about potential arch discomfort. A solution is incorporating cushioning to minimize impact and opting for soles that ensure stability.

Fashionable, platforms or high heels can cause foot pain and ankle injuries, so using heels under two inches is advised.

For those who run or walk, there are common injuries like plantar fasciitis, shin splints, stress fractures, and Morton’s neuroma to look out for. It’s a good idea to use shoes made for high-impact activities and change them every 6 to 8 months.

But what about the famous “grounding” trend?

Earthing, also called grounding, is getting more popular in certain groups. People are becoming more interested in it for natural healing. 

Users on TikTok have used the labels #earthing and #grounding millions of times. Additionally, people watched “The Earthing Movie: The Remarkable Science of Grounding” 6.3 million times on YouTube. This trend’s growing fast.

That’s why Dr. Priya Parthasarathy, a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Specialists of Mid-Atlantic in Silver Spring, MD, expressed her concern about the going barefoot trend. 

“I cringed. Engaging in this practice invites complications, and I discourage it for various reasons,” she said in an interview with Time Magazine.  

“When you go out in public outdoors, you’re walking on surfaces that hundreds of people have walked on; you have no idea what you’re coming into contact with.” She urges searching for a specialist if you are still determined.

Some think it’s unnecessary.

“Seeing a lot of people walking outside barefoot or just socks. They don’t even be homeless or in need,” commented an X user.

Others agree and added this practice is unsanitary.

“Walking around the gym locker room barefoot is the nastiest s*ht I see every day. Have some respect for yourself,” wrote another.

Many others love it and even mentioned Ye and his wife Bianca Censori’s photo walking barefoot in a park in Italy.

Meanwhile, some are sharing their personal journey.

Advice for taking care of your feet in the summer; sandals can be risky

In the summer, we often link sandals with comfort. Yet, this convenience could endanger your foot’s health, as they face intense sun exposure.

American Podiatric Medical Association member Dr. Jane Andersen said, “Even if you’re relaxing in the sun, your feet remain vulnerable.” She highlights the sunburn risk and potential for athlete’s foot in public pool areas, regardless of your surroundings’ luxury.

To avoid potential issues down the line, the APMA advises avoid barefoot strolls, around pools, beaches, or hotel bathrooms to evade bacteria exposure.

Remember to use sunscreen before and after being in the water; drink plenty of water to prevent swelling from the heat. And if your shoes are wet, ensure they’re dried before reuse to prevent the growth of bacteria or fungus.