ALEX BRAMLEY, PRINCIPAL PODIATRIST HINKLER PODIATRY
Hinkler Podiatry shares the best tips for ensuring your feet survive the upcoming silly season.
WITH all the chaos and colour of Christmas, the last thing people have time for is foot pain.
Foot pain affects one in five people and can result in a loss of productivity and time off work. In order to avoid some common festive foot problems, it is simple to remember a few golden rules and you will be decking the halls without pain.
One of the realities of Christmas time is shopping. Presents to buy, groceries to stock, parcels to post - all requiring a considerable amount of walking and standing on hard surfaces. Even slow walking will rack up 10,000 steps (2-3km) in two hours.
If your shopping expeditions are four to six hours, it may be possible to be walking six to seven kilometres. Be prepared for this level of activity and approach it like any distance event.
Supportive footwear and adequate hydration (water, not coffee) will allow you to finish strong, rather than limp home tired and sore.
High Heels and Alcohol:
The adverse health effects of wearing high heel shoes have been documented many times. It is inevitable however that the fashion of the day will mean that many people will reach for their Christian Louboutin-inspired stilettos and head for the dance floor.
Alcohol contributes to feet swelling.
If you plan to enjoy a festive drink or two, it may be sensible to ensure that your feet have room to move. Tight straps can cause corns, callous, blisters and many other painful problems that will see you carrying your shoes, not wearing them. Alcohol also contributes to unsteadiness and a loss of balance. This combined with a heel height may result in ankle sprains and falls. Studies have found that in Australia, the peak incidence of shoe-related ankle injuries occurs between November and January, predominately affecting women aged 20-35.
Heels that are lower and broader have a greater surface area and are more stable than a spiked stiletto. A common injury seen at this time of year is capsulitis and bursitis of the metatarsal heads. This is when the ball of the foot becomes swollen, inflamed and feels bruised. There may also be a feeling of burning and numbness in the toes caused by nerve irritation (neuritis). To avoid this, try to choose a shoe with a thicker, shock-absorbing sole at the forefoot. At the end of the night, spending a few minutes with the balls of the foot on an ice-pack before heading to bed will reduce swelling and reduce the amount of pain you may feel in the morning.
If pain continues, consulting a health professional is recommended. Podiatrists can manage both acute and chronic foot and ankle injury. At Hinkler Podiatry, we have an experienced team backed with evidence-based diagnostic and treatments, helping you achieve your potential.
BEST FOOT FORWARD: Supportive footwear is always advisable when preparing for a long shopping trip.