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Caring for your feet
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Jayne Evans BSc (hons) DPodM, is a Health Professions Council registered Podiatrist, who collaborates with Padders on foot care initiatives and projects.
With over 23 years of experience in podiatric clinical practice, Jayne specialises in footwear, rehabilitation and falls prevention in older people. She was a guest speaker at The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists Annual Conference in October last year, speaking about preventing falls in older people.
The Healthy Footwear Guide
There is a slowly increasing body of evidence to support the belief that footwear is potentially harmful to the human foot. In November 2007, the findings of an expert group consensus event were published, in which the criteria for the recognition of healthy footwear were considered and agreed. The group comprised of expert representatives from both clinical and industry backgrounds.
Following this work, the group has reconvened as an Executive Committee known as “The Healthy Footwear Group”. The purpose of this group is to actively translate the findings of the consensus event into practice, in the form of a “Healthy Footwear Guidelines” scheme.
Padders are pleased to say that they are on the Executive Committee, as they believe that it is an excellent initiative and will help customers choose appropriate footwear for their needs.
Lookout for the Healthy Footwear Guide logo throughout our brochure, which shows footwear that meets all the criteria of the guide.
For more information please visit www.healthy-footwear-guide.com
Gateway to health
If eyes are the window to the soul, feet are the gateway to the body. Indeed, feet can provide a valuable mirror to your general health and well being, acting as early warning detectors for a wide range of common conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and circulation disorders. It's estimated that between 75% and 80% of adults have some form of foot problem, so the chances are that you are among them. However, there are many ways in which we can care for our feet, which we will show you in our Foot Care Section, and we have also put together some useful information on Chiropody/Podiatry, Reflexology and the effects of diabetes.
You can tell how hard our poor feet have to work by the fact that they boast more sweat glands per square inch than any other part of the body. Therefore it's essential to maintain a regular foot health routine, starting with a daily footbath in warm, soapy water, followed by thorough drying, especially between the toes. Gently smooth and remove any hard skin or calluses with a skin file before washing your feet. You may want to apply moisturiser if the skin is dry especially around the heels, although you should avoid putting cream between your toes as this skin is already soft. Use nail clippers to keep your toenails in trim and a file to remove any rough edges. Always treat cuts and abrasions promptly, and if you are experiencing continual pain then seek the advice of an HPC Registered podiatrist or chiropodist. The list of registered podiatrists is available on the Health Professions Council web site - see below or at www.feetforlife.org.
HPC registered podiatrists and chiropodists
Practitioners using the titles 'podiatrist' or 'chiropodist' should be registered with the Health Professions Council. The HPC is the statutory regulator that works to protect the health and well-being of people using the services of registered health professionals. The HPC currently registers over 180,000 professionals from 13 different professions who work within the National Health Service and privately. Every registered professional is required to meet set standards for their professional skills, behaviour and health.
You can view a list of registered podiatrists and chiropodists on their website www.hpc-uk.org or by writing to:
HPC Customer Service Manager
184 Kennington Park Road
Keeping in condition with the help of podiatry
When you realise that each human foot contains 26 bones, held in place by a veritable spaghetti junction of ligaments, tendons and muscles, you begin to see why it makes sense to put your feet in the hands of the experts. A podiatrist or chiropodist will assess the condition of your feet and provide treatments that can help with mobility and general foot fitness. Among the conditions that they regularly treat and advise on are foot function problems, ingrowing toenails, calluses, corns and foot protection for people who have conditions that may put their foot health at risk. They can also advise on the correct type of shoes you should be wearing. Padders shoes, with their exceptional levels of comfort, are recommended by many podiatrists and chiropodists. Remember that you don't have to be referred by a GP to see a private practitioner you can simply call and make your own appointment; however, we recommend that you check the podiatrist is HPC registered. If you want to find out about NHS podiatry treatment, your GP practice should be able to give you details on how to contact your local department.
Your feet and diabetes
People with diabetes can experience particular problems with regard to their feet. Diabetes can affect the blood circulation and cause altered sensation in the lower legs and feet. This means that if you have diabetes you may not be able to feel damage to the bones, skin or nails and even seemingly small cuts, abrasions or injuries can lead to infection. One of the more unpleasant and serious problems are diabetic foot ulcers. These ulcerations can lead to very serious infections if not treated promptly. You may experience over sensitivity in your feet, this is a common diabetic complication called painful parasthesia (painful diabetic neuropathy). Your consultant or GP may be able to offer you treatment to reduce the discomfort caused by parasthesia. If you notice any changes in your foot health such as redness, inflammation or non-healing wounds, contact your GP or diabetic foot clinic immediately. If you are diabetic, you should have an annual check up of the circulation and sensation in your feet at the diabetic clinic or by a specially trained HPC registered podiatrist.
Naturally, wearing correct shoes that are well fitting is a good starting point when protecting your feet from the complications that can occur due to diabetes - Padders podiatrist approved shoes (look out for the tick icon seen on the right) are particularly suitable - but you should also carry out regular foot health check routines, inspecting every day for cuts, blisters, ulcers and treating them right away or seeking help from your GP or diabetic foot clinic. Athletes foot, a skin fungal infection, is more common amongst people with diabetes and needs prompt treatment to reduce the risk of bacterial infection in the cracks and splits between the toes which are caused by the fungus. See our 'Foot care' and 'Choosing your footwear' sections for further suggestions on how to care for your feet. You may also wish to contact Diabetes UK who have more information on how to care for your feet along with other good advice on healthy living with diabetes. www.diabetes.org.uk
Exploring the benefits of reflexology
Reflexology is a widely used form of alternative medicine that uses the reflex areas in the feet to treat ailments in the body, to help relieve tension and stress and counteract problems such as migraine. The Egyptians and Chinese have known about it for over 4,000 years and today there are many thousands of reflexology devotees across the world. Diana Moran being among them. When touching the feet, the reflexologist stimulates more than 7,000 nerves, which in turn encourages our neural pathways to open and clear. Also, by deepening relaxation, reflexology helps the body's system to function more effectively.
The 'foot map' diagram above shows you some of the main reflex points and the parts of the body with which they are associated.
Choosing your footwear
Fit of footwear
When you walk, your feet lengthen so it is important that there is a gap of around ½ inch (approximately the thickness of a finger tip) between the end of the shoe and the end of your longest toe when you are standing up.
You should have enough room and depth in the front of the shoes so that you can move your toes easily without rubbing them on the upper. The most comfortable shoes are foot-shaped; shoes that are pointed can squeeze and squash toes.
The footwear needs to be wide enough to accommodate your feet so that your joints and toes do not hang over the sides of the shoe or sandal.
Adjustable fastenings help keep you comfortable by preventing your feet slipping around in footwear. Friction from slipping can make your feet sore and hot and may cause calluses. Velcro fastenings are easy to adjust during the day if your feet swell especially in warm weather. Extension straps are very useful to give extra comfort.
Feet sometimes get stiff due to injury or arthritis. This makes it difficult for them to bend when putting on footwear. Choosing shoes with a low, deep opening allows easy access for stiff feet and a generous number of eyelets found on this type of shoe allows you to use various lacing options for extra comfort.
If your toes aren't perfectly straight or have thickened joints, choose footwear without seams over the prominent areas. The unique qualities of the soft leather, such as that used by Padders for their footwear, means the uppers will mould to the shape of your feet, unfortunately stitching and seams wont.
Cushioned soles and broad heels will help you walk comfortably all day. This is especially important when we reach mature years as our feet may show signs of the energetic life we've led. Wear and tear on the joints may cause arthritis and the muscles can loose elasticity so wearing shoes with cushioned soles and support in the arches help keep your feet comfortable, especially when walking on uneven or hard surfaces.
Caring for and getting the most from your Padders
To maintain that unique Padders feelgoodfeet™ feeling it pays to show your shoes a little TLC. Here are some simple ways to look after your Padders that will prolong their life and good looks. For smooth shiny leathers wipe clean with a soft damp cloth. Allow shoes to dry naturally then apply good quality polish or cream. For oiled and waxed leathers wipe off excess dirt and brush to remove surface marks. Oils and waxes are tanned-in to these leathers, but periodic oiling or waxing will help keep them supple. For Nubuck allow to dry naturally before brushing off loose dirt with a soft brush. Restore nap with a rubber brush or firm sponge block. Padders recommends Nik Wax for most shoe care and maintenance. Waterproofing sprays will guard against staining and some water penetration, yet still allow the leather to 'breathe'. Padders should not be stored in warm, humid conditions. Wet shoes should be allowed to dry thoroughly before storing. Do not store unused for extended periods. The dyed leather in some of our products cannot be made 100% colourfast, so some loss of colour may occur during wear.