Eeeek! Hot sand, tarry asphalt, pool slop crawling with microbes, teetery high-heeled sandals, 10-mile hikes -- feet sure take a beating in summer.
Nearly half of all Americans suffer from a foot problem at some point in their lives, says the American Podiatric Medical Association. And summer, when people are more apt to be active and away from home (and doctors), can be especially problematic.
Kate Beschen spent years contemplating a tattoo. So when the 37-year-old Philadelphia-based doula finally went for her ink last year, she thought she had covered all the bases. "I had my son and daughter drawn as superheroes on my upper arm," Beschen says. "I decided this was an image I'd be proud to have for the rest of my life."
But there was one angle Beschen didn't anticipate: her daughter's reaction. "My 15-year-old is making comments about wanting a tattoo," she says. "Now I'm not so sure...
"This is the best advice I have," says James W. Brodsky, MD, an orthopaedist in private practice, and clinical professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. "We see so many injuries from going barefoot. Even in that cool grass that feels so good can be a dangerous, cutting object."
A second reason not to bare those dogs is that you could have neuropathy from an unknown cause (even if you are not diabetic). You may not even know you have it. You could dash across the street barefoot, and even if it's hot enough to fry an egg out there, you wouldn't feel it. But you would get burned. "A lot of people don't know they have it (neuropathy) until they get an injury," Brodsky says.
Diabetics should never walk barefoot -- even indoors, says Brodsky, who is president of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. Think of all the sharp toys and home improvement materials left on the floor, especially in summer.