Sunday, January 11, 2009

Safety Saturdays Sundays: Foot Health

Foot health is very important to our overall health. Reflexology, a concept in Eastern medicine in which our feet (and hands) have “zones” that correspond to the rest of our body. I don’t understand it, nor do I know if it works, but I do believe that our foot health can contribute to our overall health.

Here are some common medical ailments that may afflict our feet:
•Bunions -- a protrusion at the base of the big toe, which can become inflamed. Bunions often develop over time from wearing narrow-toed shoes (eww).
•Hammer toes -- toes that curl downward into a claw-like position.
•Calluses and corns -- thickened skin from friction or pressure. Calluses are on the balls of the feet or heels. Corns appear on your toes.
•Plantar warts – warts on the soles of your feet (warts are an infection).
•Fallen arches -- also called flat feet.
There are many causes of these ailments, including heredity factors (if your parents both had flat feet, you’re more likely to have flat feet), other illnesses (especially diabetes), age (our feet change as we age), weight (if you’re overweight, your feet have more weight, and thus stress, on them), and shoe choice.

Here’s some advice for wearing shoes:
•Consider shoes with cushioned soles if you wear dress shoes.
•Compare the shape of your foot and the shape of the front of the shoe. Choosing shoes that better match the shape of your foot will create less pinching.
•Lower your high heel height by even an inch.
•Do lots of stretching for your calf muscles if you’re active in sports. Lean against a wall with one foot forward and one foot back. This is especially important if you wear high heels at work, since your calf muscle undergoes shortening and will be over-stressed once it is placed in a lower sports shoe.
•Consider using insoles, which can add a lot of cushioning to your shoes. The insoles can be trimmed to fit a dress shoe and can also be shortened to reach just the ball of your foot so they don’t make the toe box area of the shoe too tight.
•Wear good quality running shoes or walking shoes; this will make shopping, prolonged walks or your journey to and from work more comfortable.

Shoes, while a common cause (or at least capable of exacerbating existing problems or triggering problems to which you are hereditarily pre-disposed) of foot problems, are not always the cause of women’s foot problems. If you have foot pain or other foot problems, you can visit your doctor or a podiatrist.

Did you know that wearing high heels can cause headaches? High heels change your posture so that you can maintain balance. Your posture (back) changes its alignment, which can stress your back and neck muscles; neck muscle stress can lead to headaches.

I am not making any of this up: I found all the above information on these two reputable medical webpages: Canadian Podiatric Medical Association and Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health


AmyJean said...

My Pinky toe cracks up the middle! Weird right? Apparently its hereditary and common in many Koreans... folklore says those who have the cracked pinky toe are related to the HAN dynasty... i just think it makes my toes look weird! LOL

Love this post... its so informative!


Jest said...

Hmm..never really thought of my foot health before, but thanks for the post. Informative, as always :)

Carly said...

Women really do sacrifice their feet for the sake of heels. I, personally, usually go for comfort. Thankfully my feet are in pretty good shape (if I do say so myself!) But, I have many friends who need to reserve their killer heels for special occasions only.

Informative post!

Krista said...

I usually go for comfort, too, although I do like me some pretty shoes, I rarely wear them. What a debate for my wedding! :)