Oh, My aching feet!

Why do our feet hurt? That's not hard to answer just look at our footwear, shoes that are too small with pointed toes and high heels. The question should be why don't our feet hurt.

Studies show 76 percent of all Americans experienced some kind of foot problem over the last year and our footwear is the major contributor. The average person confines parched feet in shoes for up to seventeen hours a day sending temperatures inside our shoes to nearly 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Other factors that contribute to foot pain and dysfunction are injury, genetics, obesity and general wear and tear from daily activities.

The foot is an incredibly intricate piece of anatomy. It bears our weight and gives us grounding to the earth and deserves some pampering from time to time.

Here are some foot facts-

--The foot is generously equipped with 26 bones, 36 muscles, 33 joints and a half a mile each of blood vessels and nerves.

­­ In a typical day of walking the foot takes about 8,000 steps.

­­ Over a lifetime, the foot walks four times around the world and withstands force equal to several hundred tons.

­­ In oriental medicine the foot is massaged to bring relief throughout the entire body. This seems foreign to us, yet at the end of a long day of tight shoes and walking we understand getting rid of the tight shoes will relieve our weariness.

­­ Most of us are not going to give up our fashion footwear for comfortable shoes, but we are getting more sensible about things. In the meantime try the following to help your feet march through your day and have energy left to spare.

­­ If you stand for a living cushion the area where you stand. Take breaks when you can, sit and stretch especially the legs, lower back and feet. Keep your posture as erect as you can at all times.--

Choose exercise programs that get you off your feet such as swimming, bicycling, floor exercises--

Don't wait for warts, corns and collouses to become painful. Weekly inspection of your feet will help keep them healthy and pain free.

-- Flat shoes with no support can be much more comfortable with the use of a soft flexible arch support.

At the end of a long day try a foot bath of baking soda, vinegar or Epson salts. Soak the feet for 10-15 minutes in hot or warm water whatever feels best. Dry the feet briskly with a towel and massage them with lotion kneading any sore spots. For a real feet treat try some sessions of reflexology.

Till next time, Rebecca

Uploaded to The Zephyr website May 21, 2002

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