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:  

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2799344/agonising-pain-broken-bones-spinal-damage-forget-killer-heels-s-flats-really-leave-feet-agony.html#ixzz3zwfyD3zc

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

http://www.scpod.org/news/press-release-archive/the-uggly-truth/

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:

www.feetforlife.org

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


By Judith Sullivan 18 Jul, 2017
Andre was an associate podiatrist at Betafeet for five months.  His contributions to the practice were considerable.  Sadly we lost him to a higher professional and personal calling.

After a stellar educational background and career, Andre joined babylon Healthcare Services, UK based, with a view to helping them set up and deliver the first digital healthcare pilot services to the NHS.   Digital healthcare is a cluster of new and emerging applications and technologies that exploit digital, mobile and cloud platforms for treating and supporting patients. Digital Healthcare is being applied to a  wide range of social and health problems, ranging from monitoring patients in intensive care, general wards, in convalescence or at home – to helping doctors make better and more accurate diagnoses, improving drugs prescription and referral decisions for clinical treatment.

Rwanda then beckoned.

Since joining babylon Rwanda in April 2016, Andre has been instrumental in successfully setting up and launching Africa's fastest growing digital healthcare service.  According to Lindsey McConaghy, babylon's PR manager, 'Rwanda has a population of around 12 million but doctor numbers are in the hundreds. There’s an imbalance between supply and demand'.  

Digital Healthcare is not without its sceptics nor controversies - at what point do you let an app do the diagnosis?  Will GPs embrace technology in this way?

Here is Andre's report about his experiences in Rwanda:  

Rwanda is a small ambitious country known as the land of 1000 hills with a population around 12 million and a rapidly growing economy. It has rolling hills for as far as you can see, a rain forest, gorillas and volcanoes, making for quite the site to any visitor. However, it is also known for the 1994 genocide in which over 1 million people were killed in 100 days across the country.

This tragic event has led to some very big health issues, which the country still faces, but thanks to a range of donor funding and strong political leadership, the country is on its way to quickly becoming a middle-income country.

As countries shift from low incomes to middle income economies, health issues become complex, where the country can face a mix of communicable disease (ie. malaria, HIV, TB) and the introduction of non-communicable disease (ie. diabetes, high BP, cholesterol) with changes in lifestyles.

Now you are probably wondering what this has to do with podiatry?

Well, as clinicians we play a role in the overall wellbeing of every patient that walks through our door for treatment and we become advocates for a number public health issues. While our specialist area is focused on the foot and ankle, an understanding of the bodily systems is imperative for understanding the impacts on the lower limb. This allows us to transition from clinical practice to other work streams such as health policy, public health programmes, service management and research.

As a podiatrist with a public health background, the increase of diabetes and chronic conditions in developing nations has become of personal interest. In many of these countries, diabetes is poorly understood and without proper prevention and care, can lead to a large economic burdens on the healthcare system. In 2012, the UK alone spent a whopping £639 million on foot ulcers and £662 on lower limb amputations, so the prevention and monitoring of these conditions is of paramount importance in the developing world.

The quality of life for individuals with diabetes is also drastically affected if not controlled, impacting mobility, footwear and overall lifestyle. Additionally, chronic ulceration and limb amputation, creates an increases risk (approximately 80%) of mortality within the first 5 years post amputation.

How did all this lead me to Africa, I hear you say?

In April of 2016, I (sadly) departed from the Betafeet clinic to implement an mhealth project in Rwanda in partnership with the Ministry of Health. This project, allows patients across the country to speak with a doctor and receive a prescription via SMS through their mobile phone, reducing the travel time, wait time and expense of receiving care from one of the local physical hospitals. The system is also working on monitoring both communicable and non-communicable disease using artificial intelligence, engaging patients to take ownership of their health.

This could be a major milestone for a country with stretched resources. To put things into perspective, over 80% of the population lives in remote areas of the country and works in the ‘in-formal’ sector as subsistence farmers with an average income of 2-3 dollars per day, which is not very much. To receive care, a patient may travel over an hour to reach their nearest hospital where a doctor is present and then wait anywhere from a few hours to a few days to receive the care they need. However almost 80% of the population already has a mobile phone.

Appropriate access to clinical care is a large part of the prevention and management of many conditions and undertaking this project has been a great experience. As a clinician, I have had the opportunity to utilise my knowledge to develop operational pathways and input into the technology development to shape the way patients receive their care. 

'Footnote'

It is with this experience I now look to move on to my next adventure focusing on Aboriginals and the utilisation of technology in the prevention of major non communicable disease such as diabetes.

Final comment from Reggie Simpson and Betafeet Podiatry

 We wish Andre the very best in his future and thank him for this interesting blog account.  We look forward to his next blog focused on his work with the Aboriginal population.  

By Judith Sullivan 12 Jun, 2017
By Reggie Simpson
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