Kids Going Barefoot…a Really Bad Idea!

5 Jul, 2017
barefeet in the grass
It’s a picture of the perfect summer day…children happily eating ice cream cones, wearing shorts and sleeveless t-shirts…and going barefoot.
But this scene could be the start of something that may ruin the rest of the summer for one of these kids. When not protected by shoes, feet can suffer a wide variety of injuries while children are enjoying summer activities.
 

What Can Happen?

Puncture wounds are a very common summer injury. Nails, shards of glass, slivers of wood, bits of shell at the seashore, thorns from trees and plants…even carelessly discarded toothpicks or needles can puncture the skin of the foot. And even if you think you’ve “gotten it all out,” when the object is pulled out of the foot, the dirt and bacteria that were pushed into the wound can result in a serious infection. Any puncture wound that has penetrated the skin should be treated in our office within 24 hours. Without proper treatment, this injury can result not only in infection, but painful scarring or development of a cyst.
 
Traumatic injuries are caused bymany types of accidents in the summer. Feet can get caught in the spokes ofa bike. They may be hit by a rock or other object that flies out of the lawnmower. A child using a power mower without wearing sturdy shoes is a recipe for disaster. Any traumatic injury should be evaluated in our office to determine the extent of the injury and proper treatment.
 
Growth Plate injuries are a source of pain for many children. In children, the heel bone is not yet fully developed. Until then, new bone is forming at the growth plate, a weak area located at the back of the heel. Painful injuries can occur to this area when shoes are not cushioning the bottom of the heel and supporting the arch. Any persistent pain in a child’s foot should be evaluated in our office.
 
Sunburn on the feet should not be taken lightly. Shoes will protect the feet from sunburn, but when shoes aren’t being worn sunscreen should be applied…to the bottoms of the feet as well as the tops! Not only is sunburn of the feet very painful, it can also cause skin cancers that often go unnoticed until it’s too late.
 
Wear Your Shoes!
Shoes should be the first line of defense against the many types of foot problems children can encounter this summer. Don’t let an injury sideline your youngster and ruin his warm weather fun!
 

Thank you to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons for this information