Friday, August 20, 2010

Hot Foot Syndrome

In The Barefoot Book, I discuss a condition I call "hot foot syndrome." Even though I coined this term, I don't particularly like it. Before I explain why, let me first describe what it is...

Hot foot syndrome (HFS) is "a condition in which covered feet feel intolerably hot and cause the sufferer to feel uncomfortably warm throughout the body." (BFB, pg. 39).

Why do I not like the term?

Well, a 'syndrome' is a set of conditions that collectively indicate a disease or abnormal condition. Although a 'set of conditions' can be associated with HFS (e.g., hot feet, red/swollen feet, a discomfort from feeling too warm, and a feeling of dizziness), those conditions do not reflect a disease or abnormal condition. Indeed, they reflect the body reacting normally to a physical assault - the shoe. I suspect the same set of conditions could be elicited by wearing thick wool mittens for hours on a hot summer day.

The feet, like the hands and head, are made to radiate heat from the body. This is evident from the distribution of sweat glands on the body (the most concentrated number of glands being on the scalp, palms of hands and soles of feet). Thus, it's not surprising that a person could feel uncomfortably hot, have red/swollen feet and feel dizzy from enclosing their feet in shoes and socks all day. Indeed, it's in fact surpising that so few people suffer from HFS - a testimony to the incredible adaptability of the human body.

As for what to call this shoe-aggravated condition (other than HFS), I still don't know. Any suggestions?


  1. SFI: Shod Footers Itch?

    SFD: Shod Footers Discomfort?

    FSD: Foot Suffocation Disorder?

  2. Even before I went barefoot I could never sleep with anything on my feet. It was like trying to sleep with a comforter over your head... suffocating.

  3. Hyperpodothermosis, HPT.

  4. I have actually had an awful time with my feet while wearing shoes, especially in the summer. The intense heat and moisture causes my feet to become severely irritated. It goes away when I take a long weekend and stay barefoot most of the weekend.

    I came across an article about your book and have been researching going barefoot for the better part of my day.

    I know I enjoy walking barefoot, sans shoes and socks, when I am around the house and even when I'm washing the car or walking to the mailbox.

    The tough thing for me is that I am a CPA and work for an accounting firm that would not be barefoot friendly. And then there are the clients. Any tips for someone in a professional field that would have a very hard time convincing clients and employers that going barefoot in a suit is OK?

  5. I started going barefoot on my Beach with my pups every morning. It felt so good I started being barefoot most of the time, even in stores who didn’t specify shoes were required. All this barefooting seems to have made my feet miserable in shoes. They get so hot and feel like they need to breathe. I often have to pull over my car and remove my shoes and socks. I’m guessing I created my own problem.

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Welcome to The Barefoot Professor blog, intelligent talk about running, walking and living barefoot. I encourage your comments, even if you disagree with me. In this spirit I don't even moderate the comments. However, PLEASE use critical thinking skills when leaving comments, and avoid inflammatory words. Please keep your comments short and to-the-point. THANKS.