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Posts for tag: barefoot

May 04, 2017
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: barefoot   shoe guide   fun facts   foot facts   history   animals  

Humans often pride themselves on being the most intelligent creatures on the planet. We have evolved from living outdoors to building massive luxury homes for ourselves. We have progressed from thinking the sun revolved around the earth to unlocking the secrets of our human genome. In other words, we’re pretty smart. And one of the coolest things we have created are shoes! Okay, maybe not the very coolest, but they are important. So important in fact that we decided shoes were important for more than just the human race.

All the way back in 400BC, humans recognized the importance of shoes for horses and other working animals. In Asia, people would wrap horses hooves with rawhide or leather. The ancient Romans created metal boots that would strap to the hoof, protecting it from wear. It wasn’t until 500 or 600AD though that the modern metal horseshoe (nailed into the hoof) was invented. Don’t worry though, the outer layer of the horses hoof where the shoe is nailed is not sensitive and won’t be damaged by the nails.

It all started with the domestication of horses. When we change the environment, terrain, or work load of a horse it changes the conditions of a hoof. Imagine always going barefoot in a warm dry climate. Now imagine moving to Alaska and still trying to go barefoot. You’re probably not going to have a very good time of it. The same thing happened to horses. The added weight of a rider or a cart added greater strain on the hoof, wearing it down quickly over time. Colder and wetter environments can breakdown the keratin wall of the hoof, causing decay. Horseshoes were the best solution.

Modern horseshoes can be made of anything from steel and aluminum to specialized shoes of rubber, plastic, or titanium. The shoe is specially shaped to each individual hoof for each individual horse and can help with protection, traction, and even gait correction for horses with bone or muscle deformities in the leg. Racehorses (like the ones competing in the Kentucky Derby this Saturday) often wear aluminum horseshoes because they are lightweight. Some racing shoes are actually glued onto the hoof rather than nailed to promote a healthier gait and hoof wall growth. With a growing multitude of styles, materials, and brands available, it’s just as important to match the shoe to the horse and activity, as it is to match a running shoe to your own foot and movement. So before you place your bets this Saturday, read up a bit on what shoes each horse is wearing. A good set of shoes can mean the difference between first and second place.

April 22, 2017
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Holidays   barefoot   foot facts   history   Earth Day   nature  

Let’s talk about the earth. Earth day is today and whether you’re celebrating by planting trees or just going outside to enjoy the sun, there are a few cool facts that we should all know.

The first Earth Day celebration was held on April 22nd, 1970 at the insistence of senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Almost 20 million people celebrated that year.

By the end of 1970, the US government had created the Environmental Protection Agency and signed legislation for clean air, clean water, and endangered species.

Today it is estimated that over one billion people will celebrate Earth Day worldwide, with the largest event taking place in Dallas, Texas.

The earth has a circumference of 24,901 miles at the equator. The average human will walk approximately 110,000 miles in a lifetime. Congratulations on your four and a half journeys around the world!

Every plant and animal is important, even for your foot health! Comparative foot morphology is the study of feet across the entire animal kingdom. The structure of a horse’s hoof or the way the muscles of a dog’s paw flex when it walks could one day help scientists find innovative solutions for common human foot problems.

If you want to be closer to the earth, go barefoot! Only about 0.89% of people who walk barefooted on a regular basis have foot problems directly caused by not wearing shoes.

Earth is the only planet where life has been discovered. If you only have one place to live, it’s not a very smart idea to destroy it, but the Earth is in a slow health decline due to human activity. Intervention is necessary so that we can protect our home and ensure we have lots of healthy ground to walk on in the future.

Happy Earth Day everyone! Now get outside and start protecting our planet just as well as you protect your own feet.

 

There’s always been a debate in the podiatry world about whether going barefoot is healthy or harming. Many doctors claim that being barefoot is natural and promotes healthy movement. Others will warn patients away for going barefoot due to the risk of cuts or falling. Both sides have very good arguments and there may not be one right answer for everybody. So we would like to introduce you to Fitkicks, the middle ground of this hotly debated topic.

If you aren’t familiar with them, Fitkicks were created to promote minimalist footwear that allows for freedom of the foot, but also allows for an active lifestyle inside and outside. The base of your Fitkick is a Flex Form sole, giving you traction to the ground and minimalist cushion on the inside. The upper portion of the Fitkick is a light and flexible material that conforms to the foot like a sock. A bungee cross-strap secures the Fitkick to your foot while a small toe guard protects against wear and tear.

Fitkicks are designed for every activity; yoga, outdoor walking, water sports, time at the beach…you can even carry them in your purse to put on when you need relief from your high heels. Color options range from basic black to large floral graphics. Browse the whole collection HERE.

Podiatrists see an influx of foot injuries during the spring. More people are going barefoot and risking injury or a slip and fall. Many people are switching to flip flops, which offer no ankle stability and little protection. Walk more confidently on smooth or slippery surfaces with the textured sole of Fitkicks. Protect your feet from dirt and infection with the sock-like protection. What I’m trying to say is, come to the FAAWC today to get your first pair. It will improve your life and you won’t regret it. 

 

A while back we talked about fungus and the lovely things it can do to your toenails. However, we didn’t talk about what happens when fungus infects our skin. The most common fungal infection of the foot is athlete’s foot or tinea pedis, if you want to sound really smart. Athlete’s foot was first described in a medical text dated 1888, but had probably been around for centuries. The first reported case in the United States was traced back to 1920 and may have been introduced to the US by soldiers returning from WWI.

The tinea fungus is responsible for the condition we know as athlete’s foot and there are a few important things you should know First of all, athlete’s foot is really only skin deep and therefore not generally dangerous (just uncomfortable and unsightly). The fungus enters the keratin, or first layer of skin, usually on the bottom of the foot or between the toes and starts to grow there. Usually, the keratin layer of our skin is being flaked off and replaced by the skin underneath, but the fungi responsible for athlete’s foot slow down this process and so the skin remains in a constant state of infection.

This type of fungal infection is contracted through either direct contact with an infected person or contact with a surface on which the tinea fungus is present. Behaviors that put you at risk for athlete’s foot include walking barefoot in public showers, locker rooms, or swimming pools, sharing socks or shoes with infected people, wearing tight and enclosed shoes, and keeping your feet wet for long periods of time. The easiest way to avoid issues with athlete’s foot is to avoid the above behaviors! Always wear shoes in public showers and around pools (or any wet or moist place where fungus might like to grow) and keep your feet dry and air them out every once in a while if you wear enclosed shoes for long periods of time (like athletes do).

Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot include a painful, itchy, burning, stinging feeling between the toes or on the sole of your foot, blisters that itch, cracking and peeling skin between the toes, and discolored or thick nails that pull away from the nail bed. You may experience just one of these symptoms or all of them. Cases can range in severity, but are generally easily treatable with over the counter creams and medications. If your athlete’s foot persists or seems healed and then returns, your doctor may prescribe a topical or oral prescription anti-fungal.

Severe cases of athlete’s foot can present with other symptoms. Allergic reactions to the fungus, secondary infections, and infection spreading to the lymph system can occur and require more serious treatment. Diabetics or those with decreased sensitivity need to monitor their feet closely to check for signs of complications and should see their podiatrist immediately for a treatment plan.

Whether mild or severe, no one likes athlete’s foot. If you think you may have athlete’s foot, please contact your doctor to be sure you are not experiencing symptoms of a more serious problem. Keep your feet dry and wear your shoes to the pool. It’s that simple to avoid the itchy, burning, unsightly problem of athlete’s foot.

Pain. We talk about it a lot. What it feels like, what causes it, and how to treat it. But let’s change it up this week and talk about pleasure instead. Many of these articles will be irrelevant to our readers since not everyone who reads this (I assume someone out there does) will experience frostbite, Achilles heel ruptures, or osteoarthritis. But everyone has the capacity to feel pleasure.

Here is a quick list of things you can do for yourself to help your feet experience some pleasure instead of pain:

  1. Give them a good scrub. A quick rinse in the shower is usually all people do for their feet to clean them. Take some extra time and give your feet a good scrub. Get all the way in between each toe, remove dirt from under the nail, and revel in the squeaky clean feeling your feet will have for the next few hours.
  2. Give yourself a pedicure. Make sure your little piggies look nice with a quick clip or file. If you’re feeling fancy you can even add a coat of polish. No need to go to a salon and spend big money when you can do it yourself.
  3. Take a walk barefoot. Go outside and squish your toes in the grass or some sand. Concentrate on the feeling of the ground under your feet. Sometimes just appreciating nature and letting it soak in can bring you a smile.
  4. Get a foot rub. While it’s one thing to rub your own feet when they are tired or sore, it’s an entirely different thing to get a foot rub just for fun. Doing it yourself is ok, but if you can bribe someone else into massaging your feet, all the better.
  5. Give them a rest! We talk about RICE and elevation as a way to reduce swelling and promote healing. Why not elevate them just for fun? Grab a super squishy pillow and prop them up for a quick snooze. Your feet will thank you.

Your feet will thank you if you pamper them every once in a while so don’t be shy to give your feet some pleasure. After all, your strongest support deserves a break now and then.