How to read your footprint
We don’t give much attention to how we walk and what happens when we put our foot to the ground, but the contact your foot has with the ground can affect your whole posture and body. Many people who visit our osteopath with back problems, knee, hip, or even neck pain, have thrown their body out of alignment and caused the pain and disharmony because of bad foot contact.
So, how do you know if your feet are making the right contact and what can you do if they are not? Try this simple test –
Put your feet in a bucket of water and then walk on some brown paper. Now look at the watery footprints left and you can see if you are making the correct contact with the ground.
If your print looks like this you have normal contact and nothing to worry about.
If it looks like this, you either have flat feet (which you will probably already know), or you are rolling your feet inward as you walk. This is known as over-pronation and can lead to arch strain and pain on the inner side of the knee.
If there is only a little contact on the outer edge of your foot you either have high arches or your foot is turning out and you are putting too much contact on the outer edge of your foot. This is known as under-pronation and will increase your risk of ankle sprains and stress fractures.
If your footprint reveals over-pronation try arch supports. There a plenty of styles available and they can easily be found in a pharmacy or online. If this doesn’t help, visit a chiropodist for more advice.
Under pronation is not so easily corrected with insoles, but be very careful when choosing shoes that they do not exacerbate the problem. If doing sport, consider sport shoes with ankle support. A chiropodist will be able to advise you further.
The dangers of cracked heels
Cracked heels are usually a harmless, cosmetic problem that doesn’t look very nice but causes no harm. However, if left unchecked the problem can become more serious. If fissures become very deep, the heels can become sore and bleed. The feet can become infected and in some cases allow bacteria to invade the body, causing other health problems.
If you suffer from cracked heels you will almost certainly have noticed they are worse in the summer. The biggest cause of cracked heels is walking barefoot or wearing open-backed sandals, and it will be worse if you live in a hot climate.
Other causes include dehydration, obesity, excessively hot showers or baths, inactive sweat glands and using harsh soaps. People with diabetes can be more at risk of developing cracked heels.
Treating cracked heels is relatively easy. Moisturise your feet twice a day, including just before bed. Put socks on to keep the moisturiser on your feet.
Exfoliate rough or lightly cracked skin with an exfoliating cream or pumice stone. And, of course, avoid walking barefoot outside.
If your heels become deeply cracked, it is advisable to visit a chiropodist.
One of the most common foot problems, bunions occur as the big toe points inward, causing bone to protrude in a lump on the inner side of the foot at the big toe joint.
Bunions are more common in women and are most often caused by poor-fitting, pointed and constricting footwear.
Bunions can be painful and can throw the balance, causing bad alignment which in turn can lead to problems throughout the body – including back, hip and knee pain.
Special bunion shields, night splints and bandages can provide relief and halt the progress of the bunion. It is really important to wear comfortable footwear, with enough space at the toes.
If bunions become too bad, they will require corrective surgery. A chiropodist will be able to advise you on alleviating pain from bunions and looking after your feet to prevent them worsening.
Free foot health check
If you have any foot issues you are concerned about, book a free foot health check with Medcare’s chiropodist. Booking a free foot health check is easy – simply call our friendly reception staff on 966 860 258 or fill in the form on the right, ticking Chiropodist foot check.