The word alone inspires images of swimming, vacations in warm, exotic places, feeling the soft grass underfoot, sticking your feet in a cool stream on a hot day, going barefoot.
How do you feel about that last phrase, going barefoot? Do you have visions of friends and family – even strangers – reacting in all kinds of embarrassing ways when you take your shoes off?
No one’s feet are perfect – that is, no one who’s been pregnant, has walked, run, played, gained weight, lost weight, worn shoes that looked fabulous but didn’t really fit, or in short, lived a life over 30 years. After all, those puppies at the bottom of your legs have carried you through it all, even though you’ve paid little attention to their needs. Heck, you’ve downright abused them at times (can you believe some of those shoes you used to wear?)
Most of us neglect our feet, it’s true. What’s more, we frequently inherit abnormal bone structure, faulty tendons and muscles, or less-than-perfect biomechanics from our parents. Throw all of this together and we frequently end up with bunions, a tendency toward fungal infections like athlete’s foot or toenail fungus, overlapping toes, crossover toes, corns and calluses, ingrown toenails, premature arthritis, you name it. End result is that we keep our feet covered in public when we desperately want to wear sandals, flip-flops, or roam the world – or even our patio deck – in bare feet.
A regular visit to a podiatrist can solve a lot of your foot hangups. Trained intensively and exclusively in the medical treatment of foot and ankle conditions, a podiatrist can resolve pain, discomfort, and aesthetic issues for most patients without surgery. The first part of a treatment program may include suggestions for changes in footwear, custom designed orthotics, exercises specifically geared to your foot problem, and weight management if necessary. These seemingly small changes can make a big difference to your feet.
So go on – take your shoes off, let your toes hang out, and show the world how beautiful your feet are.