In the hot summer months in Florida, outdoor barefoot activities area a norm. Parents and families can prevent cuts, puncture wounds and other injuries while barefoot by following some simple recommendations from one Fort Myers foot and ankle surgeon.
“Shoes are the best way to protect your family’s feet from injuries,” says Dr. Sahiba Singh, DPM, AACFAS. “But if your summer just wouldn’t be the same without kicking off your shoes or sandals, you can still make it a safe season.”
“It is National Immunization Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to talk about TETANUS. Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by the organism Clostridium tetani and it can be transmitted in many ways, including most commonly: contaminating wounds with dirt/feces/saliva, wounds caused by an object (dirty metals in particular) puncturing the skin, burns, and crush injuries. Some symptoms of Tetanus include muscle spasms, lockjaw, and difficulty swallowing,” Dr. Singh relays.
Dr. Singh offers these tips for a safer barefoot summer:
–> See a foot and ankle surgeon within 24 hours for a puncture wound.
Why: These injuries can embed non-sterile foreign objects deep inside the foot. A puncture wound must be cleaned properly and monitored throughout the healing process. This will help to avoid complications, such as tissue and bone infections or damage to tendons and muscles in the foot. Foot and ankle surgeons are trained to properly care for these injuries.
–> Make sure you’ve been vaccinated against tetanus. Experts recommend teens and adults get a booster shot every 10 years.
Why: Cuts and puncture wounds from sharp objects can lead to infections and illnesses such as tetanus.
–> Apply sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet.
Why: Feet get sunburn too! Rare but deadly skin cancers can develop on the feet, but is more commonly seen in regions such as Southwest Florida.
–> Inspect your feet and your children’s feet on a routine basis for skin problems such as warts, calluses, ingrown toenails and suspicious moles, spots or freckles.
Why: The earlier a skin condition is detected, the easier it is for your foot and ankle surgeon to treat it.
–> Wear flip-flops or sandals around swimming pools, locker rooms and beaches.
Why: To avoid cuts and abrasions from rough anti-slip surfaces and sharp objects hidden beneath sandy beaches, and to prevent contact with bacteria and viruses that can cause athlete’s foot, plantar warts, and other problems.
–> Just be wise, safe, and use your common sense!
Why: Every year, people lose toes while mowing the lawn barefoot. Others suffer serious burns from accidentally stepping on stray campfire coals or fireworks. Murky rivers, lakes and ponds can conceal sharp objects underwater. People with diabetes should never go barefoot, even indoors, because their nervous system may not “feel” an injury and their circulatory system will struggle to heal breaks in the skin.
Dr. Singh’s vast knowledge and experience in podiatric medicine and care is accredited to her successful completion of Podiatric Residency from the Geisinger Community Medical Center. She received her Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Temple University. She is licensed and certified with both the state of Florida and Pennsylvania, and is an associate member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).
Dr. Singh is accepting new patients by calling 239-430-3668 or through the patient portal at www.NaplesPodiatrist.com