Wearing shoes is the best way to protect your family’s feet from injuries. But if your summer just wouldn’t be the same without kicking off your shoes, you can still make it a safe season.
Here are a few simple tips for a safer barefoot summer:
Apply sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet. Feet get sunburn, too. Rare but serious skin cancers can develop on the feet.
Inspect your feet and your children’s feet on a routine basis for skin problems such as warts, calluses, ingrown toenails and suspicious moles, spots or freckles. The earlier a skin condition is detected, the easier it is for your foot and ankle surgeon to treat it.
Make sure you’ve been vaccinated against tetanus. Cuts and puncture wounds from sharp objects can lead to infections and illnesses such as tetanus. Experts recommend teens and adults get a booster shot every 10 years.
See a foot and ankle surgeon within 24 hours for a puncture wound. These injuries can embed unsterile foreign objects deep inside the foot. A puncture wound must be cleaned properly and monitored throughout the healing process. This will help to avoid complications, such as tissue and bone infections or damage to tendons and muscles in the foot.
Wear flip-flops or sandals around swimming pools, locker rooms and beaches to avoid cuts and abrasions from rough anti-slip surfaces and sharp objects hidden beneath sandy beaches. This will also prevent contact with bacteria and viruses that can cause athlete’s foot, plantar warts and other problems.
Avoid going barefoot if common sense dictates you should wear foot protection. Every year, people lose toes while mowing the lawn barefoot. Others suffer serious burns from accidentally stepping on stray campfire coals or fireworks. Murky rivers, lakes and ponds can conceal sharp objects underwater.
People with diabetes should never go barefoot, even indoors, because their nervous system may not “feel” an injury and their circulatory system will struggle to heal any breaks in the skin.
To schedule an appointment for a foot or ankle injury, contact Wentz Foot & Ankle Specialists at 719-539-6600.
Dr. Ralph Wentz is a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon in Salida and a fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.