RIGHT STEPS

WRONG FOOTWEAR AND COM­MON FOOT PROB­LEMS MAY LEAD TO SE­VERE HEALTH HAZ­ARDS.

Business Today - - THE BREAKOUT ZONE - By E. Ku­mar Sharma

MOST COR­PO­RATE em­ploy­ees make it a point to be well shod – in dress shoes, heels, pumps and even es­padrilles de­pend­ing on the oc­ca­sion. But not even the most ex­pen­sive footwear could help if you are suf­fer­ing from con­di­tions that may re­quire cor­rec­tive footwear, med­i­ca­tion and surgery.

“A nor­mal foot is one where the toes are aligned and straight, there is no de­vi­a­tion and the arch be­low the foot is nor­mally main­tained. But ei­ther due to trauma or weak­ness in foot mus­cles, the arch un­der the foot could col­lapse, lead­ing to what is called a flat foot. Some are also born with them,” says Dr G. Shashi Kanth, Con­sul­tant Orthopaedic Sur­geon and a spe­cial­ist in joint re­place­ment and sports in­juries at CARE Hos­pi­tals, Hy­der­abad.

Women tend to suf­fer from hal­lux val­gus or bunion as the big toe bends to one side due to bone or tis­sue en­large­ment, arthri­tis or hor­monal changes lead­ing to loos­en­ing of lig­a­ments. It can be hered­i­tary as well. In eight out of 10 cases, peo­ple suf­fer­ing from bunion are women, es­pe­cially those whose work in­volves a lot of stand­ing or walk­ing around or se­vere repet­i­tive stress (doc­tors, nurses, teach­ers, dancers and so on) and who mostly wear close-fit­ting shoes. The treat­ment starts with wear­ing com­fort­able shoes along with a bunion shield or pad and a toe spacer placed be­tween the big toe and the next one. If the con­di­tion per­sists, surgery might be re­quired.

Peo­ple with di­a­betes could end up with di­a­betic neu­ropa­thy (small nerve da­m­age in feet) and di­a­betic char­cot arthropa­thy (dam­ages bones, joints and soft tis­sues in feet and an­kles). They also run the risk of de­vel­op­ing gan­grene (a con­di­tion when a body tis­sue dies due to lack of blood sup­ply). In some cases, peo­ple could de­velop, what doc­tors call a rocker bot­tom foot, char­ac­terised by a con­vex, rounded bot­tom of the foot.

You may also feel a pierc­ing pain in the heel when you put your foot down in the morn­ing, points out Dr Shashi Kanth. It is an­other com­mon prob­lem called plan­tar fasci­itis. The plan­tar fas­cia is a thick band of tis­sues at­tached to the heel bone to sup­port the arch in the foot and the pain is usu­ally caused by ir­ri­ta­tion or in­flam­ma­tion of tis­sues. The treat­ment is usu­ally non-sur­gi­cal and in­volves phys­io­ther­apy, use of sil­i­con heel gel pads (costs ` 500-1,000 a pair) and anti-in­flam­ma­tory med­i­ca­tions.

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