Wearing Shoes in Puerto Vallarta
We discovered when we first moved to Puerto Vallarta that Most Mexicans don’t wear their outside shoes in their homes. They usually have cheap slip-ons, slippers or flip flops for indoors. Kids might run around barefoot inside but it’s uncommon to see a woman of child bearing age or older without shoes. Men also make sure to have no contact with the ground, whether inside or out.
There is a good reason for this. Streets are dirty. When we see gringos walking barefoot down the sidewalks or malecón, we cringe. We know what kind of evil lurks there. Aside from sharp rocks and glass, there are some nasty bacteria that can wreak havoc on feet. If you’re diabetic and have little to no sensation in the soles of your feet, you risk serious infection and in many cases, amputations.
There’s a fungus similar to athlete’s foot which is responsible for toenail fungus, an ailment we see a lot of here in Puerto Vallarta. This usually turns into a very long process, with toenails needing to grow back out after treatment and can take months, even years. Hookworm is probably the worst of what one can be afflicted with from running around without shoes in Puerto Vallarta. Hookworm attaches to the lining of the intestinal wall of affected dogs; it’s a common ailment in street dogs in Puerto Vallarta. Since it’s rare in the USA and Canada, tourists may go back home and not realize they have hookworm until they begin to suffer the effects. Doctors in the north, who rarely see it, have a difficult time diagnosing it. Once the abdominal pain begins with intense intestinal cramps, nausea, fever and loss of appetite, a doctor may misdiagnose and therefore the patient can go without proper treatment. Plantar warts are a virus that is also caught from going barefoot. They tend to grow inward, are very painful and difficult to treat, due to their resiliency.
According to Dr. Andrew Shapiro, a podiatrist in private practice in Valley Stream, New York, and spokesman for the American Podiatric Medical Association “a proper shoe with good support provides shock absorption for the rest of the body and reduces stress on bones and ligaments.”
Whether you’re tottering around in Manolo Blahniks or keeping the pavement separate from your body with simple flip flops, they bring the same amount of filth into your house. You must think of the places you’ve been walking to relate to what you are trailing into your kitchen, bedroom, bathing area with your shod feet. It’s not hard to imagine without wanting to live in a Hazmat suit.
Que es cómo es.