After hearing sad news of the activist hiker who was killed walking barefoot across america to raise awareness of climate change, there are many lessons that can be learned from his sacrifice. I don't claim to be an expert on highway safety or pedestrian dynamics, but what I do know is feet. During his trek, the activist would post selfies of his bruised, swollen feet to document his journey. While his dedication was quite a feat of feet (very proud of that one), as a podiatric physician, I can't help but comment on the myriad of issues that can arise from attempting any barefoot activities.
As can be inferred, stepping on glass or other roadside debris is a bad idea. No matter how callused the skin, open wounds on the skin of the feet can have severe consequences.
Nobody has a perfect foot. While most imbalances are the result of inherited bone structure (thanks mom and dad), the compensation that the supporting structures of the foot are forced into can cause pain and instability. After repetitive cycles of loading and pressure, the structures in the foot can break down and remodel in a detrimental way. Swelling is the body's way of saying that something is wrong, and not addressing foot issues can lead to chronic damage. Shoes are a good way to support the structure of the foot, but shoes are cut from a mold of what the "average" foot is thought to look like. A custom insole is the best way for any long distance athlete to properly support the foot to achieve the maximum individual potential for greatness! No matter the foot type, we can make a mold of your foot and fabricate a device that supports your individual skeleton.
As my grandmother used to say, 'no matter what you do, be smart about it.'