Style over Substance

  • By Judith Sullivan
  • 31 Mar, 2017
18 Feb 2016
Author/blogger Reggie Simpson

Why trendy footwear may be damaging your feet

Ugg-styled boots. Ballet-type slippers. Fashion trainers. Don’t we love them? These shoes are designed to look and feel great, but next time you are on the high street, have a closer look at people walking in them.  Their feet roll out or in because such footwear provides little support to the feet and ankles. This can have a knock-on effect on the rest of your body.

According to fellow Hertfordshire podiatrist Beverley Ashdown, interviewed by the Daily Mail (14 October 2014), ‘There’s been so much publicity about the damage high heels can cause to our feet, knees and backs, we forget that flat shoes — particularly ones that offer little or no support to the foot — can cause just as many serious foot and postural problems. Shoes that offer no support, such as flip-flops, ballet pumps and even Ugg-style boots, allow the feet to roll, taking the knees inward with them. This gives an awkward gait, which in turn increases the risk of knee and back pain.’

Read more:

You might also like to read this press release from the Society of Chiropody and Podiatry (SCP) on this self-same subject:

If this information seems to mainly address a female population, check out the footwear of men. They are also fashion shoe consumers, and those same trendy trainers and pointy type shoes are also leading to issues with feet.

The ideal shoes needs stability and should be the perfect fit for the shape of your feet.  Unfortunately, you may find that the shoes you have your eye on have been designed purely for fashion purposes.

For comfort and foot health, shoes should be foot-shaped and fit your feet correctly. Take off your shoe and stand next to it. Look at whether it is too short, too long, or not wide enough. Here are some further tips from the SCP in association with The Society of Shoe Fitters:

  • Make sure there is ½ inch (1cm) of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe
  • Check there is enough room for your toes to wiggle in the shoe
  • There should be enough width in the shoe to accommodate the entire foot – there should be no pressure on the joints on the sides of your feet
  • For comfort, shoes shouldn’t slip at the back. If the shoe slips when you walk, push your heel to the back of the shoe, then try altering the laces or straps to improve the fit against your foot.

You can also visit:

Or, pick up a brochure from Betafeet Podiatry on Footwear: a guide to choosing the best shoes for your feet .

By Judith Sullivan 09 Dec, 2017
By Reggie Simpson
By Judith Sullivan 28 Sep, 2017

We are delighted to announce that prose written by our Practice Business Manager, Reggie Simpson, will be featured in the Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Rhyme & Reason 2018 diary, now in its 26th year. The theme for this forthcoming year’s diary is ‘Freedom’. All proceeds from sales of the diary go to support this worthwhile charity.

Reggie says: ‘Although my entry wasn't among the top poetry and prize winners, I was chuffed to be selected for the 2018 diary. The theme was quite broad, but my degrees in politics and love of writing invariably drew me to entering the competition. In the end I settled on a focus of freedom in healthcare, no doubt inspired by my current employment at Betafeet Podiatry and the noble work of Rennie Grove Hospice Care ( ).

Rennie Grove Hospice Care, formally known as Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, merged with Grove House, St Albans in 2010 to integrate services in south western Hertfordshire. The ethos and values of the two charities were closely aligned with the principle of allowing patients to lead a good quality of life at home for as long as possible, helping patients and their families avoid the distress of unnecessary hospital visits whenever possible.

The diaries can be ordered from the Rennie Grove website, payment by debit/credit card. It's part of their annual Christmas/holiday promotion. There will also be copies in local Rennie Grove shops. They are £5 each with additional postage if bought online. Shop locations can be found here: .

Here is Reggie’s entry (to appear in the month of September 2018): 

‘Do not count the days; make the days count.’

Muhammad Ali. Professional Boxer.  Audacious. Charismatic. A winner in the ring.

But even when you have won it all, life throws you a few more punches.

Yes, his name opened doors and wealth, but the bombastic man of his younger years was humbled in later life, and following retirement, he dedicated himself increasingly to charitable work. Parkinson’s was already taking hold.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the highest honour the USA can bestow.   He died in June 2016, aged 74.

Now the news is about boxing helping dementia sufferers.

So what does this mean for freedom? Does getting battered around the head spell freedom and choice? One would say yes; a boxer is free to take such risks. When the consequences deal you a fatal blow as a result, when do you lose your freedom? Is it when you have been reduced to a shadow of your former self, a normal human being, and have to rely on others? Muhammad Ali likely had plenty of resources to ensure his final days would help him on his final journey.

We tend to think of freedom in political terms. It is hard to remove freedom in healthcare from politics. Think NHS reform, among others. Freedom in a healthcare environment means more to the individuals and families when they have life-limiting illnesses and need the care of volunteer-run hospices such as Iain Rennie Grove.

The NHS gives patients the rights to make choices about different aspects of the care they receive, from the different treatment options available. How these are chosen is individual, although for those with life threatening or limiting illnesses this choice will fall on family members. 

I quote the following:

‘In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties’.

Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Philosopher

September is World Alzheimer’s Month.




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