Put your best foot for­ward

Lisa Pre­ston of Shoemed of­fers ad­vice on keep­ing your feet happy and healthy

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE -

At what age should we start look­ing af­ter our feet?

Ac­tu­ally, it’s more a ques­tion of when do we fool­ishly de­cide to STOP look­ing af­ter our feet! As chil­dren, our par­ents will take great care to have our feet mea­sured and to have our shoes fit­ted cor­rectly for our grow­ing feet. How­ever, as we be­come adults we tend to choose our footwear for fash­ion, rather than for com­fort and fit and this is where per­ma­nent dam­age can be done.

So, what sort of dam­age can hap­pen?

Shoes which are fit­ted too short, with your toes touch­ing the end can cause ‘ham­mer’ toe de­for­mi­ties. Shoes which are too tight fit­ting can cause corns, a painful fore­foot con­di­tion called a Mor­ton’s Neu­roma, and has­ten the de­vel­op­ment of the dreaded bunions! Did you know? Celebrities with bunions in­clude Vic­to­ria Beck­ham, The Duchess of Sus­sex and Oprah Win­frey.

Do I still need to have my feet mea­sured ev­ery time I buy shoes?

If your shoe shop of­fers this ser­vice, why not? Ev­ery other part of our body changes size and shape with the pass­ing of time – and the same hap­pens with your feet! If your arches col­lapse, your feet will get slightly longer, and your feet can get wider with age.

Tip: Search on the web­site www. shoe­fit­ters-uk.org for a qual­i­fied shoe fit­ter who can mea­sure your feet and dis­cuss the best op­tions in footwear for you.

I’ve worn good shoes all my life so why have I still got bunions? It’s not fair!

As with many traits we have as chil­dren, we can blame our par­ents! Bunions are not all caused by poor footwear choices – bunions can run in the fam­ily, but due to the fact that cer­tain foot types are hered­i­tary and are more likely to de­velop a bunion. For ex­am­ple, a hered­i­tary flat foot puts more pres­sure on the hal­lux (big toe joint) so is there­fore more likely to de­velop a bunion. You can help your­self by avoid­ing shoes with a very flat sole unit, such as bal­let pumps, as th­ese en­cour­age ex­ces­sive prona­tion (the nat­u­ral side-to-side move­ment of the foot as you walk or run) and also by cor­rect­ing im­bal­ances with the use of arch sup­ports or cus­tom-made foot or­thoses.

Can I com­bine com­fort and fash­ion? I’m not wear­ing granny shoes!

Every­body’s idea of fash­ion is of course dif­fer­ent, but I do re­mem­ber a phys­io­ther­a­pist say­ing to me once that good pos­ture takes years off your ap­pear­ance, and there is no doubt that painful feet lead to poor pos­ture. So, if your feet are com­fort­able, well sup­ported and with­out pain – you will walk bet­ter. Ev­ery sea­son it gets bet­ter with many shoes now be­ing avail­able in ex­tra wide, ex­tra depth fit­tings and with a more fash­ion­able ap­pear­ance. But com­mon sense has to pre­vail, for ex­am­ple, if you have a painful fore­foot, ev­ery ex­tra bit of heel height puts more pres­sure on your fore­foot and will cause pain. Save the heels for the ‘car to bar’ sit­u­a­tions and wear a more com­fort­able shoe for ev­ery­day life and work.

We are not just talk­ing about feet…

Many chronic health con­di­tions can af­fect the feet, an­kles, knees hips and back and footwear is a big part of pain man­age­ment. Con­di­tions such as os­teo-arthri­tis and rheuma­toid arthri­tis lead to joint de­for­mity and pain. Di­a­betes can af­fect the nerves and the heal­ing process, lead­ing to a foot ul­cer in the worst case. Long term use of steroids thins the skin and can cause foot prob­lems and pain, and oedema (swelling) caused by many dif­fer­ent health fac­tors can cause a headache when buy­ing shoes as most ‘High Street’ footwear does not al­low for any ex­tra vol­ume in the shoes. Un­less you, or some­body you know, has ex­pe­ri­enced th­ese is­sues it’s hard to un­der­stand the stress this can cause the per­son when shop­ping for shoes.

Shoemed, 66 Hen­ley Street, Strat­fordupon-avon, CV37 6PT, tel: 01789 299103, www.shoemed.co.uk

Lisa Pre­ston of Shoemed, Strat­ford-upon-avon

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