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Tread carefully and look after your feet

I WONDER how many miles are on our feet. Certainly thousands and, unlike car tyres, they can't be replaced when the miles keep going on. And yet we continue to abuse our feet every day by wearing ill-fitting shoes.

These put our feet out of alignment, which in turn affects our knees, hips and back.

We can see the shoe stores now offering computer-generated solutions for our problems.

Specially fitted orthotics, which are made to suit your feet can help.

However, orthotics off the shelf can cost €25 and €50, but those that are specially made can cost €350 euro a pair, and that's expensive.

Also, there is no guarantee they'll work. Podiatrists are now saying that our feet need mobilisation and gentle manipulation. Take off your shoes and walk barefoot as often as you can.

Inflammation

Some of the most common problems are planter fasciitis. Even the simple movement of putting your foot on the floor, when you get out of bed or when you're running, can cause severe pain at the bottom of your foot.

Planter is the bottom of your foot and fascia is the connective tissue running from the heel to the front of the foot.

The inflammation can be caused by tension of the tendon often stemming from the calf.

If you have high arches you are more prone to planter fasciitis because the arch causes more tension in the tendons of the foot. When this happens, you may find it difficult to even walk.

Another foot problem which is common with runners etc is a burning sensation in the foot which can also radiate down to your toes.

This is Morton's Neuroma. It's an inflammation of the planter nerve or a nerve that is rubbing against the ligament. The main cause is shoes that are too tight, causing compression.

This problem is not dangerous but can drag on and become very uncomfortable. It is advisable to get treatment as soon as possible and get properly fitted shoes, also during the day go barefoot for a period of time.

As soon as you can get to see a good podiatrist or chiropodist.

> Pat Henry


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