Love your feet
Having problem feet can affect your quality of life, says podiatrist Gina Badenhorst of the South African Podiatry Association.
“Just ask any person who has suffered from a corn or ingrown toenail, an athlete who has had running injuries or a diabetic patient who suffers from a chronic ulcer.
“It’s not just a question of nurturing our feet but being aware that many conditions can result from negative foot function, such as lower back, hip, knee and ankle pain,” she says.
Badenhorst recommends not wearing sandals or shoes higher than 4cm “as it’s detrimental to your spine and can destroy your foot structure permanently”.
Avoid avoid thin soles when buying sandals, she says, and they should preferably have a strap over the arch or toes and a strap behind the ankle.
Slip-ons or flip-flops are out for everyday wearing, as they don’t give proper support.
Sensible footwear doesn’t need to look like “granny shoes”.
Laurence Lotzoff, group managing director for Hush Puppies Southern Africa, says that all women, not only the elderly, need to withstand the rigours of being constantly on their feet. But that does not mean they want to compromise on fashion.
Green Cross, one of South Africa’s most recognised comfort footwear brands, also feels it is important to successfully marry style with comfort.
“Our shoes are designed to ensure that feet have the proper support,” says Green Cross marketing assistant, Britt Gilbert. “This is achieved by using a combination of top grade materials and correct support systems for the arches, metatarsals and heels.”
Proper fit is an important consideration, says Louise Holding, a buyer for Step Ahead Shoes.
“Not all feet are created equal, and therefore not every make of shoe is right for all of us. If you have a particularly narrow or broad foot, you should be shopping for a shoe brand that specialises in that foot shape.”
The flexibility of shoes is also vitally important to keep the blood flowing in and out of the foot. The shoe should be able to bend at the ball of the foot, which will also flex the calf muscle, stimulating blood flow through the leg, Holding says.
“A well-cushioned sole on a shoe will also make all the difference. Various different cushion components are used in shoes, with hidden gel pads being very popular and effective on good comfort shoes these days.
“As long as you have good cushioning under foot you will feel as though you are standing on a soft surface all day, making all the difference,” she says.
* For more information on taking care of your feet, contact the South African Podiatry Association on 0861100249 or visit their website at www.podiatrist.co.za - The Star