My wife and I have started watching the Discovery Channel’s newest reality hit Naked and Afraid. The show drops two survivalists into dangerous situations in remote areas of the world, strips them down to their birthday suit and challenges them to make it for 21 days. Besides some of the awkward things you don’t want to see anyone doing naked, the common finding in all of these situations is the need to care for your…FEET! The shows executive producer Steve Rankin was on site filming in Costa Rica when he was bitten by one of the most poisonous snakes in the world. He had to be life-flighted to the nearest medical center to undergo extensive surgery on his left foot.
In one episode, a survivalist in Louisiana suffered from Immersion/Trench foot. This occurs when the foot is submerged in water for extensive periods of time. It occurs as the cold water causes the blood vessels to contract and limit blood flow to the foot. The bacteria-heavy swamps also cause superficial skin infection. The foot can also swell and break open resulting in severe deep tissue infections. Necrosis, or tissue death quickly sets in and the foot is at risk for amputation.
In earlier episodes, quick-thinking survivalists fashioned shoes early on to prevent stepping on large thorns, however in one episode a naked contestant stepped on a thorn that festered into an infection, requiring him to leave the show early to seek medical help.
As a Podiatrist I always recommend that diabetics or anyone at high risk for foot problems wear shoes as often as they can, including in their home. It is no wonder that when people are stripped down to their skimpies and set out to meet Mother Nature that one of the first problems they encounter is with their feet.
Let us all learn a valuable lesson here: Don’t walk around in exotic places buck-naked.