Is going barefoot dangerous?

Those that have never gone barefoot outside the house and newbie barefooters often wonder if there are dangers associated with going barefoot, and that's a legitimate concern.

The other day a friend of mine asked me, "dude, why are you always barefoot?" I casually replied, "cos it's healthy." He burst our laughing and said, "are you f**king serious?" I was like, "yeah, just search the internet, you'll find plenty of sites that explain why it's good for your health." "Well, what about all the germs and icky stuff that stick to the bottom of your feet? Don't tell me those are healthy too!" he sarcastically responded.

Then I had to explain it to him that our skin is germ proof for the most part as long as it's intact, and it's important for barefooters to keep their tetanus shots current. As for the icky but non-harmful stuff, you can always wash it off. But how often do you wash your shoes, especially the inside part where all the germs thrive?

To be fair though, there are certain situations that can put barefooters more at risk than their shod counterparts. The good news is, you can take simple precautions to really keep the risks to a minimum. The most obvious potential danger is stepping on sharp objects and injuring your foot, thus allowing germs to enter your body. But don't be discourage. Just use your common sense and watch where you're going.

If you see sharp objects like broken glasses, nails, thorns, etc. simply step around them or avoid walking through the area if there's a whole lot of them in one spot. The same goes for other harmful stuff like fluids from car engines. I know, sometimes it's unavoidable as the pieces of broken glass can be so frickin' tiny that you can't see them. You go barefoot outside long enough, sooner or later you will step on those pesky little things that will make you go "ouch!" :)

Most of the time though, that's as bad as it gets. So again, don't let that discourage you. Just carefully remove it with a pair of tweezers or something. If your foot bleeds, clean the area really good with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, apply some antibiotic ointment, and put a Band-Aid on. If it's not too bad, you can continue walking barefoot afterwards. Otherwise, you may have to wear flip flops for a couple of days. I can't tell you how often this has happened to me but hey, I'm still alive! :) Like I said before, keep your tetanus shots current to be on the safe side.

Yet other people are concerned about getting worms from walking barefoot outdoors, and I don't mean earth worms. Although they're gross, they're not harmful. The harmful parasitical worms can be found in human or animal excrement, and can enter your body through the skin of your bare soles. These are mostly prevalent in under-developed countries where sanitation is very poor.

So if you live in an industrialized country, this is practically not a concern. Again, watch where you're going. Even if you're shod, I'm sure you won't want to step on anything that looks gross and ruin your shoes, right? :)

So all in all, I'll say that going barefoot is not dangerous as long as you take certain precautions. Yes, there are always risks. Life itself is full of risks, but we don't stop living. In the case of going barefoot, the benefits (I'll talk more about how it's actually good for your health in the next post) and fun way outweigh the risks.

Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV :) What I wrote above is based on my personal experience and knowledge. I'm not giving you any medical advice.