Sunday, March 26, 2023

Shoe care: In the days of Queen Victoria

Victorian etiquette determined the character of a woman was taken from her footwear. Best of taste demanded shoes must be in harmony with the complete outfit and poorly cared for shoes was the sign of a lazy person. Australian women were reprimanded for wearing open strapped shoes with a plain coat and skirt, instead of a nice pair of boots. Boots however should not be worn with a cotton frock according to the fashionista of the bygone era.

( Victorian shoes Image via Old Design Shop)

In Victorian times shoes were worn tight to the foot, like a foot corset. Although the materials used in shoes then were all natural and better quality then today's footwear, shoe fitting was basic and people were expected to ‘break-in’ their shoes. Soaks of methylated spirits (and sometimes urine) were used to soften the leather around heels. People soaked their new shoes and wore them until the leather dried. This trick is still reputedly done by football and soccer players. Those sections of the shoe which continued to pinch the foot were treated to hot water soaks to deform the leather. New shoes were given a dressing with a good shoe cream before wearing. The surfaces were often rubbed with lemon juice to remove any residual oils used to treat the leather. A good shine could then be achieved with a hard brush.

Footwear was the mark of social standing and shoe maintenance became very important to the fashion conscious. Shoe cleaning was quite an art form and required specific tools. A stiff brush to remove mud & dust was essential as were soft woollen rags or old woollen socks for applying polish; and a soft brush and velvet pad of soft cloth for bringing up the mirror shine. Separate brushes were kept for black and coloured shoes. Shoe trees were used to store footwear in a neat and orderly manner. Alternatively, shoes were stored with newspaper crumpled and pushed into them to maintain their shape. This was used by people who could not afford shoe trees. It was also the preferred practice when shoes were wet. Once stuffed with newspaper they were slowly dried out by placing them in the airing cupboard. Slow drying in moderate heat was done to prevent the leather from shrinking. After this process the leather was carefully coated with oil or Vaseline. Saddle soap was often used to rub down the outer leather uppers.

(Beeswax and Tallow Image via wikipedia )

An old military trick was to coat and sometimes sore feet with kerosene. One major problem was smoking as kerosene was highly inflammable and would easily combust. Melted beeswax and mutton suet mixed in equal quantities were used to waterproof outdoor shoes and boots. Messy and time consuming but it had the desired effect.

Lemon juice was used to soften hardened patent leather shoes which enjoyed considerable popularity in earlier days. Alternatively, olive oil was used for the same purpose but castor oil was considered more effective on other types of leather. Grease stains on leather were removed with a rub with petrol followed by the application of beaten egg whites. Petrol could also remove tar stains. When suede became popular as upper materials the shoe cover stained very easily and glycerine was used to remove grease stains. Warm water and vinegar removed stains from other leathers. The trick was complete by rubbing the dried leather with linseed oil then vigorously removing all traces of oil with a dry cloth. Bicarbonate of soda was used to deodorize smelly shoes and these were left out to air overnight. Starch sprinkled in the footwear helped keep mildew at bay. Victorians would have their shoes repaired as soon as wear was observed. The cost of re-heeling and resoling was much cheaper than replacing expensive footwear. Leather chips were re-stuck using household glues (pre-dating superglue).

(Edwardian Bicycle Costume Image via )

In 1927, Helen's Weekly advised their readers to varnish the soles of their shoes in order to strengthen them and give greater waterproofing. Later rubber soles were applied to new shoes for the same effect. Economic Depression, Wartime rationing and development of synthetic polymers all had a major influence on today’s footwear.

Interesting Site
Kippen C (2018) Victorian foot and shoe etiquette foot talk blog

Fehlinger H (2013) Sexual life of primitive people Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Healey J (Ed) (1999) Good old days good old ways "wisdom of the past for the needs of today Readers Digest Sydney

Reviewed 26/03/2023

An unauthorised history of Birkenstocks

(Birkenstock Image via Shutterstock )

In 1774, Johann Adam Birkenstock registered as a "vassal (a serf) and shoemaker" in a small village in Hesse, Germany. The family trade, Birkenstock Orthopädie GmbH & Co. KG was established shortly after.

( Birkenstock história da sandália arizona Image via

By 1902, the popularity of custom-made shoes begun to wane as mass produced footwear became more available. The first known arch support was a shoe modification attributed to Everett H. Dunbar of Bridgewater, Massachusetts in 1865, when he used leather “lifts” between the insole and the outsole of his shoe, to give extra support to the arch. It remains unclear whether this was the inspiration but recognising the market potential to make over the counter footwear more comfortable, Konrad Birkenstock developed flexible, contoured arch supports, which could be inserted into mass-produced shoes. Konrad Birkenstock developed the original prototype material from a baked mix of cork and latex to produce a light, resilient material capable of supporting body weight. Using the cast of a sand footprint he built the Fussbett. Birkenstock's contoured supports, bent to accommodate the foot, and was differed from the other supports on the market, which were made of unyielding metal. In the late-19th century during the German spa culture the affluent from around the world flocked to resorts like Baden-Baden for water cures, and Konrad Birkenstock sold his comfortable shoes with contoured insoles.

( Konrad Birkenstock Image via

With the rise of mass-produced shoes, the Birkenstock family business moved away from the crafting of custom-designed shoes to concentrate on the production of shoe inserts. The company built molding presses to manufacture the flexible orthopedic inserts and continued to develop through research better ways to us rubber as a material for foot supports. The success of the company led to a large national contract during World War I and admiration in medical circles. Konrad Birkenstock was generally regarded as an orthopedic authority and published several books.

( Birkenstock flexible orthopedic inserts Image via Bridge Partners )

His son, Carl Birkenstock, joined the company and in 1915, began to travel throughout Germany, introducing the family's products to new buyers. He also followed in his footsteps and wrote several books and pamphlets about foot health. In 1925, the “blue footbed” was among the products manufactured at a newly-opened facility in Friedberg, Germany. Konrad traveled extensively throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland lecturing leading masters and guilds on the merits of his footbed, and licensed other cobblers to produce theirs made with his technique. Birkenstock’s "Blue Footbed" consisted of four layers: a shock absorbent rubber sole, two layers of jute fibres, and a firm corked footbed, covered with soft suede. Demand was so great a large factory with extensive grounds was built and expanded in Friedberg in Hesse. The output included day and night shift work.

(Great Depression Image via

Germany was economically devastated after a draining defeat in World War I. The Versailles Treaty forced Germany to pay incredibly sizeable reparations to France and Great Britain. Pos-War Germany faced economic chaos with mass unemployment and extremely high inflation. The economic situation briefly improved between 1924-1929. However, the Weimar democracy could not withstand the disastrous Great Depression of 1929. During these years remarkably the Birkenstock business thrived with sales of orthopaedic inserts exported to Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Many changes and additions were made adding different widths to better fit the foot and to accommodate shoes. In 1937, Birkenstock altered the footbed, adding a patented "ring," to enable the insert to be easily adjusted to fit each foot. The popularity of accommodative foot orthoses attracted fierce competition from other companies.

(Video Courtesy: British Pathé by Youtube Channel)

There are several reasons why the footbed sold well even at a time when disposable income was vert short. The insoles were comfortable and hard wearing and cheaper to buy than a pair of new shoes. Worn shoes and hand-me-downs were customed for better fit and comfort. There is also a common assumption the arch of the foot is vital and a flat foot would have serious and pathological consequences. In truth, feet are kinetic by nature and arch height changes during both open and closed chain movement. Therefore, for the vast majority, fear of flat feet would seem unfounded. However, as eugenics became a philosophical pillar of Nazi Germany in the thirties and mass exercise programs were openly encouraged, the middle classes flocked to them in their droves and of course needed the apparel, including comfortable arch supports. This again a buoyant market for leisure shoes and as walking became a national past time; walking shoes took on the air of respectability and became the sensible shoes with their nemeses, the heeled pump.

(Flatfoot Image via

The concept of an arched foot has its origins in early Christian times. The belief, people were made in the image of God, gave substance to the existence of an idealised human form. Research has shown human beings prefer curved shapes to straight lines and the statues and paintings of antiquity give excellent examples of this. In less enlightened times, flat footedness was viewed with considerable suspicion when disease was also described as demonic possession which could only be relieved by exorcism. The presence of the devil was always accompanied with external signs to help good Christian people recognise evil. The absence of a longitudinal arch of the foot became an acknowledged mark of the devil. The theorem some races were inherently weaker than others prevailed at this time and was accepted by medics and ethnologists alike. Antisemitism in Europe was all too evident and a popular belief was Jewish people had inherently different anatomical structures from Christians. From the eighteenth century, ‘weak feet’ were identified as the common among Jewish people, and flat feet became a social stigma. A major attraction of arched footbeds was they could turn a flat foot into an arched foot, under the guise of the shoe. More than likely this accounts for the continued sales of arch supports throughout this period of history.

( Fußorthpadie Image via

Throughout the 30s, Birkenstock expanded their education and promotion efforts in most European countries, sometimes deliberately targeting the general public. The Carl Birkenstock System promoted the company by educating leading physicians and Carl Birkenstock trained more than 5,000 specialists during his one-week foot service courses in 1932. The first edition " Mit dem Arzt gegen Fußkrankheiten und Irrlehren" ("With the doctor against foot diseases and heresies") was published in 1935 and sold over 15,000 copies.

( Arizona BF Image via Barefoot Blvd)

With the coming of peace in 1945, the company transferred its operations from the Frankfort area in Hesse, to the town of Bad Honnef on the Rhine. The company introduced the Madrid sandal, a contoured cork foot bed with a buckled strap that crossed in a band at the toes. According to the manufacturer these were designed to tone the calf muscles with each step, as promoted as ‘exercise sandals,’ rather than a fashion item. The Birkenstock sandal was popular among returning soldiers mainly because of the orthopaedic support. Innovation and education continued apace; in 1946 the company introduced a toe-free insert and in 1948, “Fussorthopädie "System Carl Birkenstock" sold well and included his guide to "Naturgewollten Gehen" (Naturally wanted walking).

( Charles Darwin Image via The Guardian)

Germans had long extolled the virtues of walking and the desirability of a strong foot as the foundation of a healthy body influenced the Darwinistic theories of the nineteenth-century. When war time shortages and rationing meant leather was no longer available governments encouraged shoemakers to turn to wood or other alternatives as a practical solution. This meant companies had to become more inventive and Birkenstock were not the only company making exercise footwear. In Germany, Berkemann made lightweight sandals with soles of poplar wood; and in the 40s, Worishofer started making exercise sandals with a contoured foot bed and cork sole. After the Second World War these companies, although market rivals, became part of the economic renaissance of post-war Germany.

( Wooden Excercise Sandals Image via pinterest )

Berkemann was established in 1885 in Hamburg in 1880, during the Wilhelmine Era. In 1903, the company started to produce an orthopaedic insole with an arch bridge (support), The business grew rapidly and like, Birkenstock enjoyed the vogue for otrthopaedic footwear which accompanied the popularity of physical culture and rehabilitation following the Wars. The Original Sandal sold well enough to allow the company to expand and later the Toeffler, with its thick sole made of light-weight poplar wood became a classic.

( Worishofer sandals Image via pinterest)

Worishofer sandals were originally designed in the 1940s and named after the Bavarian spa town from which they originate. The sandals had perforated leather uppers and a cork wedge.

(Feet hurt? Dr. Wm. M. Scholl Image via

In North America, a German – American, William Matthias Scholl (1882 – 1968) patented an adjustable metal arch support called the Scholl's Arch Fitter, ” (1909). He formed Dr. Scholl's, to sell his patented foot care products and in 1910, he and his brother Frank established Scholl Manufacturing Company, Ltd. in London. It is unclear whether Scholl was influenced by Birkenstock although he did employ German shoe-makers who were as likely to be aware of Birkenstocks insoles. Neither is it clear whether he was hoping to improve upon the heavy and bulky, Whitman Brace, first described by Boston orthopaedist, Royal Whitman in 1905. By the 1940's, Dr Scholl insoles become one of the company's bestsellers. Scholl, like the Birkenstocks did realise the value of education and set in motion major programs to educate the public and trade on the benefits of his products and foot heath. William Howard Scholl (1920 -2002), the nephew of the founder re-introduced European exercise sandal 'Dr Scholl Sandals' in the UK in 1956, then later the US as fashion accessory. The simple slide with patented contour beechwood insoles, and adjustable leather strap sold well throughout the Flower Power Era.

( Naturalizer shoes advertisement Image pinterest)

In the late 1940s, there were 1,000 different brands of “doctor” shoes on the market and the competition was fierce. The advertising campaigns for corrective shoes became so outrageous the Federal Trade Commission was forced to issue cease-and-desist orders. In the wake of this discouragement, the corrective shoe business faded away.

(Birkenstock Image via

By the mid-fifties Birkenstock re-entered the shoe business, promoting the orthopedic sandal and introducing the exercise sandal. In 1964, American Margot Fraser bought a pair on a trip to Germany and liked them so much she asked the company about importing them to the US. They were slow to take off but popularity of the comfortable shoes spread coast to coast from San Francisco to Burlington, Vermont. Birkenstock gained its reputation as the official footwear of peace, love and everything organic and was only available at health food stores. By 1971, Fraser convinced the German parent company to give her sole United States distribution rights and she incorporated the company. She introduced the Birkenstock Arizona, which sold well in America, despite criticism from the fashion press.

( Birkenstock shoes Image via

Throughout the early 70s. Birkenstock continued to develop innovative machinery and in 1972, Karl Birknstock published "Buch der Fußgesundheit" ("Book of foot care) which sold over 30,000 copies.

( BirkiKids Image via

In Germany, the Birkenstock company expanded its production facilities to meet new demand. Birko Foam was introduced by the mid-70s and the company continued to improve on their materials. Karl Birkenstock published "Birkenstock-Fussfibel" ("Birkenstock foot primer") in 1983. Sales of Birkenstock shoes in the US began to wane as they were no longer considered fashionable but were still worn by loyal customers keen on comfort at the expense of looks. In 1989, a new range of sandal styles were made available for adults and Birkenstock sandals for children were introduced, under the name BirkiKids .

( Cool again Image via

In the 80s, as the fashion for more comfortable clothing and a nostalgia for the trappings of the 1970s became apparent, Birkenstock's aggressive marketing, changed the company’s fortunes and between 1989 and 1992 the company expanded 500 % , selling more shoes than it had in the previous 20 years. Competition from other "comfort shoe" companies such as Teva and Naot was fierce but greater access to the Birkenstock product and a wider range of shoes and fittings, meant sales remained competitive. The ugly duckling took pride of place as the centre of fashion with Vogue, GQ, Sassy, and Details magazines all featuring sandal and clog styles, and worn by Hollywood’s elite. Birkenstock's sales for fiscal 1997 were an estimated $82 million.

( Birkenstock Image via pinterest)

Birkenstock Orthopädie GmbH & Co. KG took over their long-term distribution partner Birkenstock Distribution USA, Inc. (BDUSA). In 2012, the family agreed to give up control to outside managers, although it retained ownership. In 2013, The 38 individual companies were combined into a group with three business areas (production, sales, services). Rudy Haslbeck was hired as director of product & design and charged with gently modernizing the brand. Birkenstocks branched out into hiking boots, formal shoes and other fashion accessories and


( Margot Fraser Image via

The transformation from a niche German health item into a global fashion brand might not have happened without the involvement of Margot Fraser (1929- 2017). Born in Berlin, the successful dressmaker felt constrained in Germany, and married an American and moved to Northern California in the early sixties She recognised the potential for comfy shores and was determined to increase the range of footwear sometimes meeting with resistance from Birkenstock whch she fortunately overcame.

Ahmad UH. et al (2019) Electromyography sensing on tibialis and peroneus muscle against flat feet orthotic insole Proceedings of Mechanical Engineering Research Day 2019 pp16 -19
Gilman SL (1990) The Jewish body: a "footnote" Bull Hist Med 64:4 588-602
Gilman SL (1991) The Jew's body . Taylor & Frances/Routledge

Reviewd 20/03/2023

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Non Surgical toe alignment : The facts

( Alignment socks Image via pinterest)

According to the manufactures’ My-Happy Feet socks help align the toes and undo the harmful effect of daily foot stress. The night socks feature dividers to separate the toes and stretch the intrinsic foot muscles. Initially the socks are worn with the dividers at the tips of the toes for 15 to 20 minutes per day. The dividers should gradually be moved down between the toes and worn for longer periods of time, so that within weeks the socks can be worn overnight. Claims also include Foot Alignment Socks can be used as a non-surgical treatment for bunions, hammer toes, crooked toes, heel pain & general foot comfort and manufactures include Foot Alignment Socks can also help to reduce the need for surgical intervention.

Biomechanical Footnote

It would be nice to think these claims are possible but it is unlikely for the following reasons.

(Bunion Image via

The term ‘Bunion’ describes an adventitious bursitis over the medial aspect of the first metatarsophalangeal joint.

( Hallux Valgus Image via pinterest)

The terminology is often confused by lay public for Hallux (Abducto) Valgus (HAV) which is a significant pathological process resulting in a subluxation (partial dislocation) of the main pivot joint of the foot. It is not uncommon for both adventitious bursitis and HAV to be present as chronic condition not likely to respond to passive stretching.

(Hammer toe Image via pinterest)

Hammer toe describes chronic osteoarthrosis in the proximal interphalangeal joint of the lesser toes (usually the second toe). In the chronic stage this is irreversible, albeit provided the metatarsophalangeal joint is capable of plantar flexion this may reduce the profile of the affected joint.

( Plantar Fasciitis Image via Conway Podiatrist )

There are many causes of pain in the heel and these may afflict different facets of the bone. By far the most reported type involves plantar fasciitis which is usually an enthesopathy unlikely to be assisted by passive digital manipulation.

(retracted toes Image via Depositphotos )

Anatomically the three middle toes operate as one unit supplied with extrinsic musculature which accounts for extension and flexion of the toes. On the dorsum the tendons of the extensor digitorum longus insert into the extensor hood (which allows each phalanx to work in unison) and the tendons from the extensor digitorum brevis provide a compensatory oblique pull to give a straight up and down movement. At the metatarsal-phalangeal joints. The three middle toes share common insertions with the great toe and the fifth toes respectively but both first and fifth toes have different musculature which allows them independent movement. There are two sets of intrinsic muscles to the digits i.e. the interossei and the lumbricals . The former are split into the dorsal interossei and the plantar interossei muscles. The dorsal interossei abduct (move away) the lesser toes away from the midline of the foot; and the latter, plantar interossei, adduct (move towards) the midline of the foot. The lumbricals assist with unified plantarflexion and dorsiflection of the lesser toes through the dorsal hood mechanism.

( Hallux Valgus Image via Radiopedia)

Feet and hands are more or less at the same evolutionary stage with a natural gap between the great toe and the second toe; and the fourth and fifth toes. This leaves the first and fifth toes with independent movement and the three middle toes to operate as one unit. Separating the middle three toes is therefore unlikely by itself to assist with normalising toe function albeit temporary stretching of the digits may give a stimulus to the superficial circulation.

(Video Courtesy: My-HappyFeet Foot Alignment Socks by Youtube Channel)

Reviewed 25/03/2023

Heel spur syndrome

( Calcaneal Spur Image via

Bipedal gait causes heels to repeatedly hit the ground with considerable force. The heels absorb impact as the foot strikes the ground giving support to our skeleton. When pain develops in the heel it can become very disabling and often affects posture. There are a few conditions which cause the heel to become painful but probably the most common is called heel spurs. First discovered in 1900 by x-ray, this condition describes a dull to sharp pain on the under surface of the heel. Pain is characterised by stabbing discomfort, especially first thing in the morning, when weight is put on the foot and often noted when visiting the loo. Heel spurs affect one or both feet and the presence of a bony outgrowth or exostosis is easily detected by x-ray. Firm pressure with the thumb will bring on a deep tender spot, often on the inner side of the heel. These sites correspond to the attachments of deep ligamentous structures which bind the heel to the rest of the foot. Females are more prone to heel spurs the older they become. Studies indicate approximately 15% of all adults attending podiatrists is for relief from painful heels. Three quarters of them will be caused by heel spur syndrome. Paradoxically many people have asymptomatic heel spurs yet less than half complain of heel pain. No-one has satisfactorily described what causes Heel Spur Syndrome and most experts believe it is either a single trauma such as hitting the midfoot against the sidewalk (kerb), or continued micro trauma due to the stress of walking.

( plantar fasciitis Image via

According to some experts wearing high heels can put up to 26% more stress on the knee joints and that a three-inch heel can add 76% more stress to the feet. Plantar fasciitis is a common problem that causes pain under the heel bone and in the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is an irritation to the tough, fibrous tissue that forms the arch of the foot. Most patients with plantar fasciitis are effectively treated with some simple measures. Common treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, ice applications, shoe inserts, and stretching exercises. In some situations patients do not find relief from their symptoms and require more aggressive treatment. In very severe cases the heel spurs can be surgically removed.

An interesting alternative to these theories is the condition known as enthesopathy. This refers to an inflammation of the cells which cement the bone surface and the hardened spur. Pain in the morning is a common symptom and has been described as "inflammation puddles". The theory goes as follows fluids, due to inflammation, pool or puddle around the heel during the night. As the foot takes weight, the compressed fluid increases pressure on the nerves causing a sharp pain in the heel. Continual walking reduces the fluid resulting in less pain. Once set in motion however the inflammatory process continues and the same cycle is repeated after periods of non weightbearing. Heel spurs need only be treated if painful. Most cases respond to mechanical management including heel pads to reduce shock, or accommodative orthoses made to reduce symptoms. Localised treatments such as steroid injections and oral anti-inflammatory are used to temporarily relieve pain.

(PF Rehabilitation Tests Image via pinterest)

Exercising the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles are also recommended as well as stretching the Tendo achilles in the morning before standing. To exercise the gastrocnemius muscle keep the knees straight while pulling the foot gently towards the front of the leg causing the ankle to bend. To exercise the soleus muscle repeat with the knees bent. These muscles are stretched separately and each exercise is repeated ten times, five to six times per day. Have a pair of shoes or slippers with a slight heel to slip into before you take your first footsteps of the day.

(Video Courtesy: Bob & Brad Youtube Channel)
Reviewed 25/03/2023

Top ten foot problems for walkers

(Fall Fads Image via pinterest)

With everyone now encouraged to take time out of their day to take exercise it seems there has never been a better time for shoes. Your intrepid reporter has scoured medical resources to find the top ten foot problems for foot walkers. These conditions may exist by themself or in combination with each other. Before taking up exercise it is recommended you consult your physician and podiatrist. Believe it or not, trimmed toe nails can put smiles on your miles. The information below does not constitute actual health care but offers instead to inform. Where painful symptoms exist, exercise to tolerance is recommended and in the event symptoms persist you are advised to consult your health care professional.

( Foot Blister Image via News Medical )

#1. Blisters
By far the most common complaint and one easily prevented by wearing good fitting, comfortable walking shoes with the added protection of two pairs of thin socks. Blisters are caused by friction on the skin surface when the foot moves inside the shoe with weight bearing. The two layers of sock act as a second skin and take the high temperatures away from the skin surface. When blisters are present seek advice and treatment from your health care professional.

(Black Nail Image via Runner Dude's blog )

#2.Black Nails
During long periods of activity when shoes do not fit then all manner of skin and nail damaged can arise due to friction and shear. Skin sells (the epidermis) proliferate and the local area becomes thicker (callus). Nails are modified skin cells and constant impaction causes the blood vessels to leak into the skin layers. Black nail is commonly seen in the great nail but others can be involved too. Symptoms are often asymptomatic (painless) but acute symptoms do arise too. This is reported as a burning hot pain. The culprit is invariably a narrow toe box or short shoes. Painful black nails respond to treatment of the inflammation. Other nails conditions such as ingrown nails are also associated with inadequate shoe fitting. It is a sensible precaution to cut toe nails every four to six weeks.

(Heel Pain Image via pinterest)

#3. Heel pain
Heel pain can masquerade as a variety of different conditions, including plantar fasciitis and heel spurs (see below). In most cases it relates to a bursitis, inflammation of the fluid sac (bursa) which protects the heel from trauma. In the past the condition was associated with occupations that require long periods of standing i.e. policeman’s heel. The acute symptoms respond to rest and treatment for inflammation with prevention of reoccurrence assisted by cushioned, well fitting walking shoes.

( Symptoms fo bursitis Image via Shasta Orthpaedics )

#4. Bursitis
Next to the heel, the big toe joint (first metatarsal phalangeal joint) is prone to friction (against the shoes). The is especially true when there is a broad forefoot caused by deformity of the great toe (hallux valgus). Firms bump form on the inner edge of the foot, at the base of the big toe. Bunions describe bursitis (inflamed fluid sac) which can be very painful. Acute inflammation responds to treatment but care is necessary to protect this vulnerable area if repeated episodes are to be avoided. Broad fitting walking shoes with soft uppers to accommodate the bunion area are recommended and laces may help foot fit.

( TYpes of heel pain Image via

#5. Plantar fasciitis
An inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom surface (plantar) of the foot, from heel to ball. Pain is caused by the inflammation form microscopic tears or stretches in the fascia with weigh bearing. Often the condition lies dormant (asymptomatic) until triggered by a traumatic event such as hitting the kern or walking on different surfaces. Does not always respond to treatments and only time and rest will help? Exercise to tolerance and wear a lacing sport shoe appropriate to activity and incorporating support and cushioning. In some cases foot orthoses may help.

(Video Courtesy: Bob & Brad Youtube Channel)

#6. Heel spurs
Bony outgrowths on the underside of the heel bone. Thought to be caused when the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot is pulled at its attachment to the heel bone when weight bearing. Area may calcify to form a spur. Rarely painful (asymptomatic) but frequently shows up on foot X rays when walkers complain of plantar fasciitis. Good fitting walking shoes are recommended.

( Tedininitis Image via pinterest)

#7. Achilles Tendinitis
This is an irritation and inflammation of the tendon which attaches the calf muscle to the back of the heel bone (calcaneum). Acute symptoms are caused by overtraining or improper warm-ups. To help alleviate and prevent symptoms from returning a sports shoe style which has a well protected heel counter with an extension to the base of tendo Achilles is recommended. To reduce strain on the thick tendon heel lifts can be worn in the shoes.

( Shin Splints Image via

#8. Shin splints
Either side of the shinbone is painful and there are signs of inflammation of the muscle or tendon beneath. Prolonged pronation during propulsion (inward foot motion while walking), may be causing imbalance between opposing muscle groups in the leg. Increased and unbalanced tone tears at the muscle or tendon. Rest will subside the symptoms and acute inflammation responds tom treatment. Good fitting walking shoes will lend support and bespoke (made to measure) foot orthoses can help.

( The Sesamoids Image via

#9. Sesamoiditis
The sesamoid bones sometimes called the "ball bearings" of the foot and sit together under the big toe joint and help the foot pivot during lift off. With excessive exercise the sesamoids can become inflamed, and painful. Rest and treatment of the acute inflammation are indicated. It is important to wear good fitting walking shoes and foot orthoses can help prevent reoccurrence.

( Stress Fractures Image via )

#10. Stress fractures
These are incomplete cracks (fractures) in the small bones of the foot (usually the metatarsals bones) caused by overuse, or loss of bone strength. Females are at higher risk because frequent hormonal imbalances can affect bone strength but males too suffer stress fractures. Comfortable and supportive footwear can help prevent stress fractures and alleviate the symptoms when it is present. It is important to wear good fitting walking shoes and foot orthoses can help prevent reoccurrence.

(Video Courtesy: uraas2utube Youtube Channel)

More Information
Kippen C (2022) Rogaining: shoes and foot care foot talk blog

Reviewed 25/03/2023

Did the Holy Prophet Mohammad have Plantar Fasciitis ?

(Foot Prints Of Profit Mohammad Image via pinterest )

Some Muslims believe that wherever the Holy Prophet Muhammad roamed, his footprints made a lasting impression. These relics have been recovered from religious sites and are now on display at mosques, museums and other historical sites throughout the region. The Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul purports to house the right footprint of the Holy Prophet and founder of the Islamic faith.

(footprint housed in Topkopi Museum in Istanbul Image via )

No too much is known about his health but it would appear from the footprint, he may have suffered episodes of plantar fasciitis which was very common in the Southern hemisphere.

(plantar fasciitis Image via )

Today, Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition which affects both young and old. Most sufferers are fit and the symptoms often cause them to stop their activities which only add to their frustration. Plantar fasciitis is sometimes referred to as heels spurs and although they both share the same symptoms; they are two quite separate conditions. Classic symptoms include pain and inflammation caused by strain and tearing of the plantar fascia. There is a point of tenderness on the sole of the foot on the inside of the heel. Pain typically occurs on rising in the morning then subsides during the day. Firm pressure with the thumb will show a deep tender spot, often over the heel. These sites correspond to the attachments of deep ligamentous structures to the heel bone beneath.

(foot masssage ball Image via

Conservative treatments fall into three categories and, depending on the severity of symptoms, may need to include all three. Heel cushioning may help and often this is assisted by the application of heat. Sometimes if the symptoms are severe the administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed by general practitioner. Corticosteroid injections, although helpful in treating the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, appear to predispose to rupture of the tissues. Control of foot function may be achieved by foot orthoses (arch supports) but if chronic heel pain persists then surgical intervention may be necessary.

(heel pain Image via Bond University)

No one is quite clear the cause of this foot problem but some authorities believe it is a type of tearing injury which builds up from many tiny rents in the tissue. by the time the pain is at the conscious level the condition is well established. this is one reason why it will not always respond to treatment. Two tips for sufferers are stretch the back of the legs in bed before rising and cod liver oil supplements. The condition tends to return and often the symptoms are more severe. Gentle and regular stretching of the calf muscles during recession seems a sensible precaution.

Reviewed 25/03/2023