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.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome, also called SJS, is a rare but serious problem. Most often, it's a severe reaction to a medicine you've taken. It causes your skin to blister and peel off. It affects your mucus membranes, too. Blisters also form inside your body, making it hard to eat, swallow, even pee.
Getting treated right away helps protect your skin and other organs from lasting damage.
"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.