TORONTO FOOT SPECIALIST, MARZ HARDY, D.Ch., B.Sc., PODIATRIC MEDICINE QUOTED IN READERS DIGEST
posted: Sep 26, 2013.
WHY WE SPEND BILLIONS CARING FOR OUR SOLES
They’ve been called smelly, dirty and even ugly, yet feet hold up a multi-billion-dollar global indus- try. New shoes are a top impulse buy for Canadians, and an average of 3.2 million pedicures are given in the United States every week. Romance writer Danielle Steel owns 6,000 pairs of Christian Louboutins, according to the designer of the famous red soles. Not everyone can be a bestselling author, but many share Steel’s fetish for footwear: the average North American woman owns 30 pairs, with one-quarter of them finding buying shoes as exciting as sex (uh-oh).
The care we lavish on our feet is a vanity that spans millennia. The
TORONTO CHIROPODIST MARZ HARDY ON PUTTING YOUR BEST FEET FORWARD
Are high heels ever okay to wear?
Never. They don’t make sense. You’re walking on your toes, jammed into a pointy shoe. It changes your posture and affects your feet, knees, hips and spine.
Do I really need special shoes for each sport? Usually. Every sport places different demands on our feet. Basketball and volleyball require jumping, and the appropriate shoe would decrease injuries and increase comfort.
What’s the best way to walk?
The correct walking gait strikes with the heel, and the foot leaves the ground from the toes.
THE SUM OF ALL PARTS BY CAITLIN AGNEW
AIMÉE VAN DRIMMELENpedicure, derived from the Latin words pedis and cura, for “foot” and “care,” is believed to have origin- ated in ancient Egypt, where reflex- ology was de rigueur and nobles painted their nails in colours cor- responding to their rank. Today some doctors offer controversial cosmetic foot procedures in Canada and the United States, including toe-shortening services; surgeries to cure “toe-besity,” a term coined to refer to wide toes; and fat injec- tions to the balls of the feet.
For the less aesthetically inclined, foot health should still be top of mind. Even minor podiatric ail- ments can be debilitating, espe- cially since doctors recommend we take 10,000 steps a day to stay act- ive. Look no further than your closet to find the culprits; improper shoes are the No. 1 cause of foot problems for women, who are four times more likely than men to suf- fer from ailments such as corns and bunions. Sarah Jessica Parker, who made luxury-shoe designer Manolo Blahnik a household name on Sex and the City, announced in March that she’s shelved her stilettos for good because of foot problems. The flat soles of now-ubiquitous flip- flops are no better—their poor sup- port can result in heel pain, tendinitis and an altered gait.
AIMÉE VAN DRIMMELEN
Focusing more on our feet is never a bad idea. They’re often first to show signs of serious medical conditions such as arthritis and cir- culatory problems. And considering they have the highest concentration of nerve endings in our body, at more than 7,200 per foot, there’s no denying the pleasure to be had in a little pampering.
â£â£â£To prevent ingrown toenails, trim in a straight line using sharp clippers, and not too short.
â£â£â£To find the perfect fit, shop for shoes later in the day when feet are a bit swollen.
â£â£â£Wash and dry digits daily, and wear clean socks made of natural fibres to prevent athlete’s foot.
â£â£â£Use a pumice stone followed by a cream on heels to prevent dryness and cracking.
â£â£â£Rotate between two or three different pairs of shoes to give them time to dry out after each wear, since each foot sweats out about one cup of moisture a day.
â£â£â£Increase zinc intake by eating foods such as nuts, eggs and whole grains to minimize strong foot odour.
BODY OF EVIDENCE
A 2011 survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association found 72 per cent of people avoid exercise because of foot pain. Lack of exercise can lead to weight gain and poor cardiovascular health.
Four out of five Canadians will experience back pain in their lifetime, and 85 per cent won’t know why. Walking on poorly supported feet can cause sciatica and bulging discs.
Gout, caused by high levels of uric acid normally eliminated by the kidneys, is a joint inflammation usually found at the base of the big toe. These acid crystals are linked to kidney stones and can cause joint degeneration.
Poor blood circulation and nerve damage associated with diabetes can cause numbness in feet, an early sign of the disease.
Morton’s neuroma, an enlargement and compression of the plantar nerve; and plantar fasciitis, painful inflammation on the bottom of the foot.
common ailments such as heel pain and metatarsalgia, or bruising on the ball of the foot.
stress fractures and early degeneration of lower extremity joints.