Medical expert warns of new TikTok trend ‘Go Barefoot Everywhere’: 'We're not Flintstones' - Hindustan Times
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Medical expert warns of new TikTok trend ‘Go Barefoot Everywhere’: 'We're not Flintstones'

Mar 16, 2024 11:05 AM IST

TikTok's barefoot trend faces warnings. Medical expert advises caution against barefoot lifestyle due to risks of injury and infection.

TikTok users have taken a“barefoot lifestyle,” which has them walking shoeless in various public settings. This trend follows the viral emulation of Margot Robbie’s iconic foot scene from the hit film “Barbie.”

A swimmer walks barefooted through slush while heading across the ice toward the lanes. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)(AP)
A swimmer walks barefooted through slush while heading across the ice toward the lanes. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)(AP)

However, Dr. Sari Priesand, a foot specialist at Michigan Medicine-University of Michigan, warns against this practice. In a university press release, she firmly advises, “Keep the shoes on.”

“We're not Flintstones.”

Walking barefoot nowadays is not safe

The ‘Go Barefoot Everywhere’ trend has been expanding more and more like this as social media searching, and in such instances, individuals are customizing their footwear to get into ventures where there are shoe requirements. Netizens think barefoot walking is a uniquely natural state that is good for feet because it bears weight evenly on them.

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While these proponents argue that minimal or no shoes are more likely to avoid foot problems, Dr. Priesand warns against the various risks of running and playing outside the footwear. There is a high chance to get hurt from walking on glass pieces or other perils, including wounded feet. And this will sometimes lead to infections, which may be common in crowded places.

'Anywhere you're barefoot, you are potentially exposed'

The podiatrist underlines the risk of suffering from any moisture-related fungal affection, for example, the athlete's foot or nail fungus, which is a very unpleasant condition and not easily treated. Another problem that avid exercisers experience regularly is getting viral infections, particularly plantar warts, usually traced back to human papilloma virus (HPV).

The medical condition, which seems to be a matter of trifle, is not negligible; it may require doctor’s appointments, medications, and sometimes need operating. Treatment completion does not provide 100% guarantee that the disease will not recur.

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Dr. Priesand concedes that walking barefoot “On surfaces that are cleaned appropriately, it can be okay” but “anywhere you're barefoot, you are potentially exposed” in most public areas. Common places like pools, gyms, and hotels are hotspots for contracting fungal infections.

She further explains, “Having good foot hygiene is beneficial, but it's not going to necessarily protect you from all those things that can penetrate or hurt your feet.”

Good foot hygiene, while beneficial, does not offer complete protection against the myriad of risks posed to bare feet. Dr. Priesand also notes the lack of stability when walking without shoes, stating, “The reason we have a sole is to help support our foot,” and “Removing that part is removing one of the most important parts of the shoe itself.”

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