Posted: April 05, 2018|Categories: Foot Health
One or two hours on your feet? No problem. But when standing stretches past the five-hour mark – that’s when a pair of comfortable shoes could make that difference in alleviating some of that fatigue, back aches and leg cramps.
While most of us already know of the health risks associated with long hours of sitting, did you know that prolonged standing is equally harmful as well? Researchers from Swiss university ETH Zurich ran an experiment and discovered that on average, their 26 participants reported feeling tired after five hours on their feet, despite regular breaks and a 30-minute lunch.
This is a scenario that’s all too familiar with bank tellers, hospitality personnel, retail assistants and others who earn their wages on their feet, often resulting in aching joints and sore feet, and ultimately affecting work productivity.
Because Arch Angel believes in the power of comfort, here are some tips when looking for a pair of shoes that adequately supports your feet during those days of long standing hours.
1. Get properly fitted.
While that pointy pair of heels, or strappy stiletto sandals may look fabulous – anything that constricts the natural shape of your foot is bound to cause pain. Do your toes graze the tip of your shoes? Are there blisters and calluses? These are sure signs of an ill-fitting pair of shoes. Having your shoes properly fitted would help alleviate and prevent your feet from hurting.
2. Look for insoles that cushions and absorbs shock.
The heels on our feet has a large fat pad, designed to be our body’s main shock absorber. Problems arise when our heels are exposed to excessive stresses potentially caused by prolonged standing and increase in body weight. While rest is the best recommendation, the right pair of insoles and footwear can provide additional cushioning and shock absorption, bringing relief to your feet.
3. Be practical about those high heels.
Did you know that the higher the heel, the greater the potential for foot problems? Other than that recurring heel pain, wearing sky-high heels can exacerbate conditions such as corns, hammertoes and bunions.
A general guide is to go for heels under two inches. Opt for heels with wider surface areas, such as wedges or thick heels, for better balance and support. And if you can’t part with your stilettos, try not to wear them for longer than two to three hours a day.
In his National Day Rally Speech this year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong – who has a family history of diabetes – spoke of how the average Singaporean may expect to live to an average of 82 years old. Yet, many of these people will spend approximately eight years of their lives in poor health, and diabetes, is often a major culprit.
Foot problems linked to diabetes can be painful and a very real problem, but they are not inevitable – if you learn to pick your shoes with care, just like getting good medicine for your feet.
In today’s world, a bad shoe day could mean a mismatched shoe with an outfit, a blistered toe from an ill-fitting heel, or a sore arch. All these are things that can dissipate rather quickly, and sometimes, without even us noticing.
But for people with diabetes, the wrong footwear can lead to long-term harmful effects. Diabetes can cause neuropathy (nerve damage), which lessens the foot’s sensitivity to pain. When blood sugar is poorly controlled, the impact on blood circulation and nerves are first on your feet – simply because they are the furthest away from the body’s centre. As a result, people suffering from diabetes may continue walking normally unknowingly, despite that pebble in the shoe, a swell on the toe or a blister. This is why checking your feet for abnormalities daily and wearing good quality shoes are especially vital for diabetics. When the circulation is diminished wounds are often more difficult to heal and in more severe cases they can progress to gangrene and even amputation. Consequently, prevention of wounds and early wound care is vital.
Apart from regular exercise, controlling blood sugar levels, yearly foot assessments with a podiatrist or doctor, here are some quick tips for good diabetic foot care:
1. Wash feet daily with mild soap and water. Avoid soaking feet past 5 minutes.
2. Pay particular attention to the area between toes: they should always be dry after washing, and do not apply moisturiser or talc here.
3. Moisturise feet daily, avoiding area between toes (see point 2).
4. Cut toenails straight and file off all sharp corners. Do not over trim nails; as a general rule of thumb, there should be a small white line still visible.
5. Do not use corn plasters as they can lead to ulcers.
6. Always have a podiatrist treat your corns and calluses with sterile equipment.
7. Check your feet daily: between the toes, around heels and on the soles. Things to look out for include cuts, swells, redness, blisters, pus or fluid discharge.
8. If you see a wound, wash with saline. Dry carefully with a clean cloth and apply antiseptic. Cover with a non-adherent dressing (no plasters or gauzes). If the wound looks infected, please see your doctor.
9. Wear shoes with fastening features – lace, buckle, or velcro straps. Avoid shoes with hard seams within, and if the doctor has confirmed neuropathy damage on feet, avoid open shoes and sandals.
10. Before wearing your shoes, check for stones or foreign objects in your footwear that may hurt your feet.
For more information on Diabetic Foot Care on our Foot Health pages!
To find a qualified podiatrist in Singapore, please refer to the Podiatry Association (Singapore) website.
All these does not mean your podiatrist-recommended shoes cannot still look good. Here are a few feet-loving options that are kind to your feet to consider for diabetics: