Should You Go Barefoot at Home?
I’m sure some of us have experienced our mothers, aunties or uncles sternly reminding us to remove our shoes before entering the house. In Asian societies like Singapore, taking off your shoes before entering a home is common practice, but many do not know whether going barefoot is good or bad for your feet.
For a start, going barefoot can have benefits like restoring your natural walking gait. Unless you are wearing comfortable shoes with arch support, shoes can constrain your feet and restrict the movement of your feet when you walk, preventing them from naturally rolling from your heel to your forefoot, causing possible foot pain or heel pain. This is especially so if the soles of your shoes are inflexible. Walking barefoot will allow the muscles and ligaments in your feet to be fully activated and maintain their range of motion. Being barefoot can also reduce the risk of falling as you retain a better sense of balance when your feet can feel the ground. This can be beneficial for the elderly who have decreased sensitivity in their feet. However, walking barefoot on hard ground can also pose certain problems.
Your feet naturally roll inwards when walking because it helps your body absorb the shock of contacting the ground. Walking barefoot causes your arch to over-flatten and increases the extent that your foot rolls inwards, which can distribute body weight unevenly to the inner side of your soles. This is especially a risk for those with conditions like flat feet. If you have flat feet to begin with, you will experience a large amount of pressure on your inner soles. This constant pressure can encourage the development of a bony bump at the first joint of the big toe, also known as a bunion. Bunions can be tender or painful, and continuing to walk barefoot on hard ground will only exacerbate the pain. This uneven distribution of weight on your feet can also translate into postural issues that result in knee pain when walking or back pain.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the band of tissue on the sole of your foot stretching from your heel bone to your toes becomes inflamed. If you suffer from it, going barefoot on hard ground can worsen the shooting foot pain due to the lack of cushioning. Continuing to walk in your bare feet in this condition can damage the membrane that covers the heel bone, causing heel pain, and stimulates a bony growth that develops on the underside of the heel bone.
Going barefoot has its own pros and cons, and ultimately, we recommend not walking barefoot on hard ground for long periods of time. If you’re not used to wearing shoes at home, consider furnishing your house with plush carpets that can help to take pressure off your feet. If you suffer from painful conditions of the feet such as bunions, flat feet or plantar fasciitis, or have abnormal gait, it will be better to wear slippers, perhaps with arch support, that can cushion your feet and support your arch.
The influence of foot posture on the cost of transport in humans - https://www.uccs.edu/Documents/rmelamed/harman_1956_13332224.pdf