Jul 16, 2013

Unique Feet – A Podiatrist's thoughts

Visiting a friend in hospital one evening he said “Shhh, listen to those footsteps” as the heels clunked down the corridor. “I bet that’s Nurse Lynn”, he said, and he was right. He’d been there long enough to recognise the sound of a person’s footsteps! Is he unique? Well, surprisingly, no. Even Shakespeare knew about such things:

High’st Queen of state, Great Juno comes; I know her by her gait (The Tempest Act 4 scene 1, Ceres observes)

Gait is the manner of how we walk. How we walk is unique to each of us just as each of our individual feet are unique.

If you take two people, whose feet appear equally flat, one can have hard skin, the other person does not. The person with hard skin might be pain-free but the one with baby smooth feet can be in pain in the foot and leg muscles.

Hard skin generally results from things such as friction and sheer stress to the skin of the feet and tissues beneath it. Maybe our shoes pinch the skin, or they cause us to put more pressure on one area, like the ball of the foot. Callous may form or we might get a deep painful ache in there instead.

Painful feet and legs often come from the muscles having to work too hard, perhaps from prolonged standing or even from a simple walk - but our foot and leg muscles seem unable to take the strain. One sign that our feet are working harder can even be that walking seems such hard work. Some people are put off sport simply because running or walking is so tiring and hard, partly because their feet are not working efficiently for them!

It might surprise people to hear that a research study in January this year suggested that “Approximately one quarter” of a population are “affected by foot pain at any given time.” These kinds of situations can often be helped.

The role of the Podiatrist includes working out how to make the right changes and choices to make your feet happy again.  They can advise on:

  • Footwear and any requirements for special inserts that go inside the shoe.  These inserts or orthotics help to alter the way the foot bears load in standing and walking, taking the load off of tired strained feet.
  • The need for Chiropody – i.e. the removal of corns and callouses.
  • The need for liaison and treatment by our Physiotherapists. The Physiotherapist can often treat any painful areas locally and advise on exercises, joint mobilisation and soft tissue work.

Your feet are unique and so are you – that’s why at St Judes we believe in Individual services for the individual you.  So for happy feet see our Podiatrist/Chiropodist.