Well, summer fast approaches and you know what that means.
Time for some stupid articles about bare feet or flip-flops.
The latest abomination I’ve come across is this one: 7 Tips for Healthy Summer Feet. Our first hint was the author of the piece, Laura Schocker of the Huffington Post. She wrote a similar piece last year, How Your Flip Flops Are Killing Your Feet that I discussed in Huff-Po Bait-and-Switch.
The first thing the article actually does is indict shoes (!). They tell you all the things to do when your shoes give you blisters.
Um, I have a solution for that . . .
And then the article just starts making up stuff, when talking about how to prevent and treat dry, cracked heels. Their diagnosis:
Wearing open-backed shoes can spread the fat pad of the heel, causing the skin to crack, says Andersen.
Really? Open-backed shoes causes skin to crack? I would dearly love to see a citation to a scientific study on that. Skin cracks when it gets too dry, internally. As I’ve pointed out many times before, a foot cream with urea allows the skin to retain that moisture. And if it is open-backed shoes that cause skin to crack, why are foot creams something like a $15 million a year business? Is that all from open-heeled shoes. I sincerely doubt it.
Of course the article also has to slam flip-flops. It even has a video on their evils, again making the totally unverified claim that the problem is that they don’t provide the foot with support.
I think Dr. Lieberman’s latest two studies, which I wrote about in Dr. Lieberman Strikes Again and Dr. Lieberman, I Presume? show pretty conclusively that feet don’t need support at all (as we have long been claiming) and in fact that without support the arch get stronger and more functional. And of course, there is the famous Hoffman study of 1905 that showed that barefooted populations did not have problems with their arches or flat feet.
And they also fail to mention that your gait is closer to barefoot (i.e., natural) when wearing flip-flops than when wearing shoes.
Of course, the article has to trash going barefoot. They did get one thing right, though:
Going shoeless also raises the risk of picking up foreign bodies, like stepping on glass or splinters.
We have to be realistic, it does raise the risk. It raises it from miniscule to tiny, but it does raise the risk.
But then the rest of that section if full of crap:
Walking barefoot might be one of the great joys of summer, but it can also put you at an increased risk of contracting viruses (think warts), fungus (like athlete’s foot) or bacteria (which can cause a skin infection), Andersen explains. And these things tend to thrive in warm, moist environments, like a public pool.
Geez, Anderson never got the memo: warm, moist environment perfectly describes the inside of a shoe.
And she even says that going barefoot at home is a problem, because again you have no support.
They just keeping repeating this crap amongst themselves without questioning it.
Oh, and to ease sweaty feet?
For some people, hot temps mean sweaty feet, and all that moisture can increase the risk picking up an infection. Andersen suggests wearing socks that wick excess moisture away, and changing out of damp socks as soon as possible — if you can’t shower, at least rinse your feet off. “Keep a nice, cool environment for your feet,” she says.
Well, yeah. A nice, cool environment for you feet has a succinct description: barefoot. But in this article that common sense solution is prohibited.
One more idiocy in the article tells you to watch out for germs, citing a study showing how flip-flops could harbor a whopping 18,000 bacteria (emphasis in original; it was in the earlier flip-flop article, too), “including the dangerous superbug, Staphylococcus aureus”.
What they don’t tell you in that the inside of a shoe is filled with bacteria (probably more, but I don’t have a study handy), including the even more dangerous Pseudomonas aeruginosa. But then they say that even taking off shoes exposes you to all sorts of street debris and droppings:
Walking the streets in open shoes can mean kicking up all sorts of debris, including human vomit, feces, bird droppings and a whole host of other unappetizing things, Phillip Tierno, Ph.D., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, told The Huffington Post. Then you take your shoes off and touch, say, your face. “It’s a repository for everything you brought in from the outside and [you] don’t give it a second thought,” he said.
I have a better idea. If you don’t wear shoes, you don’t have to touch them and take them off.
And as long as you are not putting your foot in your mouth, you are probably safe.
[Picture from here.]