UK health website advises against walking barefoot, even indoors.

Discussion in 'Ask the Docs' started by SteveG, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. SteveG

    SteveG Barefooters

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    I came across the following advice on the health website, patient.info, which raises a number of questions.

    Avoid walking barefoot, even indoors. By the time we reach 65 the fatty protective foot pads have worn thinner through long use. Walking barefoot is no longer recommended as it tends to speed up this process. If the feet are given no extra cushioning - for example, shoes - to make up for what they have lost then painful feet, calluses and metatarsalgia can result.

    This was part of an article titled Ageing Feet, under a sub-heading How can I protect my feet from the effects of ageing?

    My questions are:
    1. Is this advice representative of current medical consensus?
    2. What evidence is there to either support or refute the suggestion that walking barefoot is harmful for older people?
    3. Where the article says "Walking barefoot is no longer recommended", does this mean it used to be recommended, but isn't anymore, or does it mean it's recommended for younger people, but not for over-sixty-fives?
    The article contains links to "further reading and references", including one paper behind a paywall, and another, titled Biomechanics of the Ageing Foot and Ankle: A Mini-Review, which seems to contradict the statement about pads wearing thinner by the age of sixty-five: it says that metatarsal and heel pads maintain their thickness, but become less elastic. It says nothing about the advisability of walking barefoot.

    Patient.info makes quite strong claims about the reliability of its information, eg:
    Our information reflects reliable research evidence, recognised UK and European medical guidelines and best clinical practice.

    Our health information leaflets are certified to meet The Information Standard; NHS England’s ‘quality mark’ for health and care information. We accept and adhere to its aims to improve the quality of health information provided to the public.

    Like all other organisations who have achieved The Information Standard, we undergo rigorous assessment to check that the information we provide is clear, accurate, balanced and up-to-date
    .

    The full article can be found here: https://patient.info/senior-health/ageing-feet
     
    #1 SteveG, Aug 2, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  2. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Welcome SteveG! I see this is your first post.

    I will try to get a Doc to answer...they've been quite busy lately, it seems, but we don't get a lot of people posting in the Ask the Docs forum; perhaps this is a testament to the barefoot lifestyle.

    The article you shared doesn't mention a study that backs up what they say, so in the meantime, I just want to add these articles in this thread to the conversation: https://www.thebarefootrunners.org/...vent-falls-for-the-elderly.21922/#post-195601 I would like to know how these studies panned out.
     
  3. SteveG

    SteveG Barefooters

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    Thanks TJ, I hope the results of that study are reported here when they are available.
     
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  4. DNEchris

    DNEchris Barefooters
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    With a sample of 1 I think those statements are excessively restrictive.
    I'm 65 and did an eight mile walk last week and was happily barefoot for 5.5 of them. For most of the year I walk barefoot about 1 mile a day with the dog and have no problems.
    My advice is to start slow, give it a go and see what happens.
    Worry not!
     
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  5. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I haven't heard back from one of the docs, and the other one stepped down from our Ask the Docs forum. I have some things to consider...

    In the meantime, @DNEchris, I had no idea you were 65. You look great! And where have you been?! Missed you!
     
  6. DNEchris

    DNEchris Barefooters
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    Why! I thank you - but the avatar photo is not exactly current!
     
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  7. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I'm sure it's not far off either. ;)
     
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  8. Janne

    Janne Barefooters

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    Speculating, this feels more like other things with the body, use it or loose it. Now we know that there are benefits with weight lifting even at older age, could it be the same with barefoot?
     
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  9. Dr. Mark

    Dr. Mark Barefooters
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    Sorry for the delayed reply . I would not agree with this article as an absolute for a healthy population. the proper load applied to any part of the body results in proper remodeling and then includes the foot fat pads. So if you have maintain these in early years then there should be no reason you can walk around barefoot later in life. Many people do all over the world. if you have neuropathy and atrophy and you need to protect your feet
     
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  10. SteveG

    SteveG Barefooters

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    Thanks, Dr Mark. This is what I would expect, and seems consistent with the "use it or lose it" idea mentioned by Janne. I wonder how common the advice given in this article is. Have any of the members of this group been given similar advice by a doctor, or come across this idea from other sources?
     
  11. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    This might be a good time to move your question to the Health forum, since most members will answer there, reserving this one for the doctors.
     
  12. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Thank you, Dr. Mark!
     
  13. Dr. Mark

    Dr. Mark Barefooters
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    Apologize for the delay here. This is 1 of the silliest pieces of Dr. advice I have ever seen. By walking barefoot it stimulates the muscles and the nerves as well as the fat pads to maintain their integrity . More importantly barefoot enhances balance and falls are a major cause of morbidity and mortality as we age
     
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  14. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    @SteveG

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