pepperspeasSpring has all of us wanting to get out into the gardens and yards. That translates into getting out into the mud. I was talking to someone the other day who didn’t want to wear any of her shoes into the muddy garden; she was thinking about going barefoot.

We discussed the possible problems she could encounter such as glass or wire in the ground that was there before she gardened, therefore she isn’t expecting the sharp things that can cause injury. Or the potential for organic fungus and irritants from the naturally composting humus material in the soil. These can either be the start of something bad or can invade scratches or cuts to make everything worse. Is it worth a pair of shoes just to avoid mud?

There are some rubber answers such as Crocs® or inexpensive garden clogs available at some garden departments. The latter have their issues because if the mud is serious and sticky, sometimes when you walk, the shoe stays. But most of the time they do offer you some protection between your feet and the soil. They can be cleaned up under a water hose or by being placed in a bucket of water. It’s hard to beat a light weight pair of wellies or rain boots for spring work.

Another option that is economical and friendly to the environment would be to ‘demote’ an old pair of shoes, especially sneakers. They may not have any more ‘all day comfort’ for you, but will work fine for a few hours in the garden. Sneakers, especially, are likely to be full shoes and will stay on your feet better. They can stay on the step till the mud dries, then it can be knocked off with a brush or by walking in the shoes around the yard. By the end of the season, you could consider them used up and would be justified in throwing them away. The old shoes may still have respectable counters and arch support to help your feet stay safer and more comfortable.

Unless you absolutely know the history of what is in the soil, I don’t recommend going barefoot in garden mud. There are many choices that will work for you to protect your feet. Healthy feet without cuts or infections or irritations are wonderful — and you will appreciate them. In the event that an injury, infection or fungus issue does come up, don’t let my opinion keep you from seeking help to get ahead of it. I am dedicated to foot health; I’m ready to help you keep your feet healthy. And I want you to be able to walk about enjoying your garden.

If gardening leads to some foot issues such as cuts or other injuries, we’re available for an appointment at Hoosier Foot and Ankle to help you. You can call 317-660-2115 for an appointment or you can use the online appointment option available 24/7 for your convenience.