Painful feet and how you can treat them 

The Good Life Letter

Friday 9th September 2011

  • Roman bridges and painful feet - discover the similarities
  • How can diabetes be diagnosed by a peak at your feet?
  • Take steps NOW to ease common foot pain forever

Did you know that your painful feet share a lot of design detail with a Roman bridge?

I'm not saying that you have huge blocks of stone at the end of your legs, although after a hard day on your pins it might feel like that sometimes.

No, it's all about the mechanical properties and structure of these hardworking and much abused bits of our bodies.

The foot is made up of a series of small bones, which are arranged like the spans in a bridge - in fact, that is where the term 'the arches of the foot' comes from.

Just like the stones in a bridge our bones are aligned so that weight is evenly distributed and forces are dissipated throughout.

If you think about it this is key as our poor feet have to cope with the stress of our body weight (no rude comments about my girth please!) from the top, and the rigours of broken pavements and dodgy shoes from below.

It's no wonder then that foot pain is fast becoming a problem for all ages in the UK.

Oh how have you become so wise in matters of biomechanics Ray I hear you cry?

Let me explain.

Things afoot around the dinner table

When it comes to feet I now know all about structure, function and dysfunction.

These are just some of the amazing things I learnt this week from a chat with a fellow guest at a dinner party.

This lady was a podiatrist, a foot specialist, who spent a large part of the evening enthralling me with facts and concepts about these often ignored parts of the body.

She described how badly we treat our 'plates of meat', cramming them into ill-fitting shoes, or pummelling them on a long run or even just wearing them out from a hard day standing.

A huge percentage of the population suffer with painful feet as a result of their choice of shoes, their occupation or as a consequence of other medical conditions.

And this was news to me.

She said that she even diagnosed patients who were suffering with diabetes at least 3 times every week...long before they had become aware of any other symptoms.

I needed to find out how on earth she was able to determine that someone had a problem with the way their bodies were dealing with glucose through nothing more than looking at their feet...this seemed like some sort of magic to me.

She explained that one of the early impacts of diabetes is that there is more free glucose sloshing around the body, and that it tends to 'settle out' in the extremities of the feet and hands - which is mainly due to the relatively poorer circulation here and also due to gravity.

This extra glucose causes inflammation of some of the joints in the foot and sufferers get very painful feet as a result of a condition called metatarsalgia.

The pain is often described as being like continually walking on a pebble beach without shoes on.

So, you see if she sees a patient with these symptoms she usually asks about some of the other common symptoms of diabetes and tells them to get a test kit from their GP or pharmacy...incredible.

Of course, not everyone who has painful feet is suffering from diabetes, but if you think you are at risk make sure you get a check up as soon as possible.

But it soon became apparent that I really hadn't realised how common foot problems were, the variety of presentations, or what they could be linked to, and it made me determined to look after my own hooves even more than I had done previously.

The common factor in all the conditions she described was pain, and that's something I'm not a fan of.

How to be kind to your feet

The question is...are you doing your bit to help your feet?

I know from many of the e-mails I receive each week that painful feet are high on your agendas, and here's a solution that might just be a way forward for you.

Have you ever heard of a Foot Cradle?

Just the name alone is enough for me, the thought of being able to put my tired and aching feet into something called a cradle just seems so right.

But these are about more than just putting them to bed.

No, going back to our bridge analogy this is about providing them with a full set of supportive scaffolding underneath. If this conjures up images of enormous Vivian Westwood platforms shoes then you couldn't be more wrong. These foot cradles are simply slim leather insoles with a very special design.

How the unique design of the foot cradle can prevent many kinds of foot pain

This discreet piece of natural leather has a specially contoured shape designed by a Swiss doctor who studied foot pain for years. He found in his experiments that when you move you place uneven weight on your feet, which puts pressure on sensitive bones and causes pain.

He designed this ingenious foot cradle to help align the bones in your feet (among the most sensitive bones in the human body) so they can resume their normal anatomical position. The toes will then sit naturally, without being cramped. Also there will be no pressure on the skin and therefore no reason for foot pain.

The foot cradles give you that support and spring back.

Interestingly, from my newfound friend I also discovered that us old folk are not alone in needing a bit of extra help, she tells me that even the young, virile and active are beginning to suffer.

The curse of the young is the humble flip-flop, which provides no arch support at all, and has very little cushioning in the heel area which is where the most load occurs.

So, you can order these foot cradles not because you are old and tired, but because you have been young at heart, spending your summer in trendy least that's what I'm saying to anyone who asks me!

I've noticed a very big difference since wearing mine so do your feet a favour and place YOUR order now

Yours as always,






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