If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that germs are literally everywhere…and we mean everywhere. And the bottoms of shoes are no exception. In fact, the University of Arizona discovered that there were about 421,000 different units of bacteria and germs on the soles of shoes. That’s not even the grossest part! These germs and bacteria are often antibiotic-resistant and can live up to days inside your home and on your surfaces.
As a physical therapy clinic owner we don’t have to tell you how much foot traffic comes in and out of your clinic on a weekly basis. Knowing how many germs and bacteria are being tracked in and out of your PT clinic, it’s not a bad idea to think about leaving the shoes off your treatment table. If the idea of millions of germs and bacteria hanging out on your treatment table isn’t enough to sway you, check out these 3 reasons:
As you already know, the soles of your shoes are carrying nearly half a million harmful germs and bacteria. But which ones exactly? Are you familiar with E.Coli? Or C.diff? A toilet seat has fewer germs than the soles of your shoes. And honestly, are you all that surprised? Think about all the mystery puddles, close calls with dog poos, and the other weird and strange you encounter between your house and work, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your shoes are cesspools for germs and bacteria.
There numerous studies that link carcinogenic toxins from the pavement and coal-sealed tar coat. Once brought inside they can persist and survive for years. A study conducted by Baylor found that individuals who lived near coal-sealed lots had 38 times higher risk of developing cancer compared to those who don’t. Cancers linked to this type of sealant include:
- Lung cancer
- Skin cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Gastrointestinal cancers
Many cities, like Austin, Texas, have banned the use of such sealants due to the harmful effects on both people and the environment, many cities still utilize this harmful sealant. Avoid the mystery of whether or not your patients have it on the bottom of their shoes and leave the shoes off the treatment table.
Wear and Tear
Wear and tear is a natural part of treatment as a physical therapist on your PT equipment. As a clinic owner, you know how expensive it is to replace equipment when it’s tired and worn out. Wearing shoes on your treatment table speeds up the natural wear and tear process of your equipment. It might be awkward for you to ask your patients to remove their shoes. But as you incorporate this step into your practice it will get easier and easier. Besides, who doesn’t like kicking off their shoes for a little bit?
This week, try leaving shoes off the treatment table and even outside of the treatment room if possible. You can provide your patients with socks or purchase shoe slipcovers for those patients who may have difficulty removing their shoes.