FEET FIRST

We can be pretty hard on them, es­pe­cially dur­ing the sum­mer months. Brooke Evans-but­ler re­ports.

Geraldton Guardian - - Healthy You -

Did you stock up on gor­geous new shoes in the new year sales? If you are try­ing to break in your new shoe col­lec­tion, or if you are nurs­ing new blis­ters, chances are you didn’t make a “feet-friendly” choice.

Ac­cord­ing to Theresa Miller, po­di­a­trist, di­rec­tor and spokes­woman for Po­di­a­try WA, choos­ing the right footwear is im­por­tant, not only for com­fort, but for over­all foot health.

“Each foot is made of 26 bones, which are sup­ported by a se­ries of mus­cles and lig­a­ments,” she says.

“Our feet sup­port all the weight of our body and keep us mov­ing.

“Feet are essen­tial for mo­bil­ity, shock ab­sorp­tion as well as sta­bil­ity.

“It's im­por­tant our feet are well sup­ported and pro­tected, so shoes play a vi­tal role in this.”

Dr Miller says signs you have not been wear­ing the right shoes in­clude blis­ters, corns, cal­luses, bruis­ing, swelling, and dam­aged toe­nails, as well as pain, burn­ing and numb­ness.

Choos­ing the right shoe

Size mat­ters!

Rachel Tim­mins, prin­ci­pal po­di­a­trist at The Foot Pod Po­di­a­try Clinic, says a shoe must be the right size (not just the right length) so en­sur­ing the right width and depth for your foot is im­por­tant.

The Foot Pod Po­di­a­try’s Scar­bor­ough clinic has a shoe shop and clients can be ex­pertly fit­ted for shoes and may also be di­rected to or­thotic op­tions.

“A lot of peo­ple for­get to check if the shoe is the right depth, es­pe­cially around the toe box area, where the toe sits,” she says. “You can go to some­where like the Ath­lete’s Foot or Paul Car­roll Shoes, where you can get pro­fes­sion­ally fit­ted. You can also see your po­di­a­trist for ad­vice about get­ting the right fit.”

Dr Tim­mins adds there are some checks you can do to help en­sure you are get­ting a good, sturdy shoe:

1. Hold the shoe at the front and the back and try bend­ing the shoe. It should only bend at the toes – the rest of the shoe should be sturdy.

2. Hold­ing the shoe the same way, do a lat­eral twist (try to twist the length of the shoe). It there is a lot of twist, the shoe might not give suf­fi­cient sta­bil­ity.

3. With your thumb, push the heel counter (the back of the shoe). It should be solid and not move.

“If you are play­ing sport, it is also im­por­tant to choose the right shoe for the right sport,” she says.

“Don’t wear ten­nis shoes to go run­ning. This is be­cause cush­ion­ing will be in dif­fer­ent spots in dif­fer­ent shoes and if you choose the wrong shoe, the shock ab­sorp­tion will be in the wrong place to give the sup­port that is needed.”

Sum­mer woes

Dr Miller says in sum­mer it’s nat­u­ral to want to wear a lighter and more open shoe, but this means less pro­tec­tion, which can lead to trauma (such as cuts), de­vel­op­ing cal­luses and ex­ces­sively dry skin in un­pro­tected ar­eas.

“The skin of the feet is the thick­est skin on the body, it more eas­ily dries out, of­ten re­sult­ing in painful cracks or splits,” she says.

“An­other prob­lem that we reg­u­larly see as a re­sult of wear­ing light un­sup­port­ive shoes is foot strain.

“This can be from claw­ing of toes to keep thongs on or col­laps­ing of the foot arches to due to thin, flat shoes.

“The best way to avoid th­ese types of prob­lems in sum­mer is to limit amount of time spent in un­sup­port­ive shoes. Thongs are per­fect for the beach or pool but not so good for walk­ing around the shop­ping cen­tre for hours.”

Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages/iS­tock­photo

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