"This may not be the season for extolling the benefits of walking barefoot
out of doors, but a female reader from Wimbledon points out that it can
still be beneficial to do it at home.
She has had foot problems for 30 years - dropped arches and, most recently,
a painful big toe joint. Then, this summer, she went barefoot on a sailing
holiday and, on her return, resolved to continue the practice around the
house. Now, "every time I walk upstairs, I exercise my feet properly," she
writes. "They are stronger, the toes are straighter and I can now step out
in my smartest shoes without pain."

"Walking barefoot may also protect against decrepitude, believes Californian
doctor John Douglas, by prompting the powers of concentration. "Barefoot
[walkers] must continually concentrate on where to put their feet if they
are to avoid pain from sharp objects on the ground," he observes in the New
England Journal of Medicine.

"This, he claims, acts as a "primitive feedback system", keeping the neurons
ticking over in the same way as concentrating on the daily crossword
provides a regular stimulus to the brain. "To the best of my knowledge,
people who go barefooted have little memory loss," he writes."

Reprinted with kind permission of The Daily Telegraph - Dr James le Fanu's ‘Doctor's Diary’ feature