Oh, my aching feet!


By Rebecca Huber


Why do our feet hurt? More to the point, why donÕt they hurt more looking at todayÕs footwear? Shoes that are too small, pointed toes and high heels. What we do in the name of fashion.

Studies show that 76 percent of all Americans experienced some kind of foot problems over the last year and our footwear is a major contributor. Consider this, the average person confines parched feet in shoes for up to seventeen hours a day, sending temperatures soaring to nearly 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, some of the problems we experience with our feet are from other causes such as injury, genetics, obesity, and general wear and tear from our day-to-day activities.

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

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 nothing relieves our weariness better, than getting out of tight shoes.

Most of us are not going to give up fashion to wear comfortable shoes, although we are getting more sensible about it. 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 you stand on. Take breaks, sit and stretch, especially the legs, lower back and feet. Keep your posture as erect.

If you stand, walk or in anyway make your living by being on your feet, choose exercise programs that get you off your feet such as swimming, bicycling — floor exercises are okay if you arenÕt pounding your feet and joints.

DonÕt wait for warts, corns and calluses to become painful before they get your attention. If natural methods donÕt keep them under control see a foot doctor.

At the end of a long day try a footbath of baking soda, vinegar and Epson salts. Soak 10-15 minutes in hot or warm water —  whatever feels best. Dry the feet briskly with a towel then massage with lotion or oil. Knead the feet giving the sore spots more attention. Your feet and your body will repay you for your kind attention.

Or, have a session of reflexology by a professional.  Till next time, Rebecca.