DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - For many youngsters, kicking off their shoes and going barefoot is a summer rite of passage.
There are concerns from parents: stickers, broken glass, fallen arches and more.
Dr. Joseph R. Dupper is a practicing podiatrist who said, for the most part, let them be kids.
"Most of the time, I don't have a problem with kids going barefoot. Obviously, kids will step on things and there will be a lot of stubbed toes. A lot of kids will snag their nails on things and tear their toenails," he said.
Of course, he said there are exceptions to this rule. A primary exception would be if that person is a diabetic.
He recently had a diabetic patient who stepped on a tack.
"Because he was diabetic they have neuropathy, which is when their nerves don't work and the feet get numb. He didn't know it until he took his shoe off and he'd been walking, possibly all day, with a tack in his foot," he said.
Dupper said while this patient recovered well, some wounds don't heal well and often tissue must be amputated.
And there are other concerns...
"There are some children who have Pes Planus Syndrome, where they have flat feet when their feet fall in," he said.
He said just because you have flat feet doesn't mean you should never go barefoot - just not all the time.
"Bare feet isn't the end of the world, but you need to be careful and look at the lawn. The biggest thing is if you do get a puncture wound, you treat it the right way, treat it quickly," he said.
And enjoy summer with a healthy spring in your step.