Foot News Blog

Man of Steel (Toe)

Laborers all over the country are required by their employer to wear work boots with a steel toe, and in many cases, a guard ("metatarsal") to cover the top of the midfoot as well.  While these additions help immensely at reducing work related injuries, they contribute significantly to foot pain and fatigue.

First and foremost, the steel toes and metatarsal guards add considerable weight the work boots.  Lugging around even an additional 6-8oz above what one is used to can take a significant toll over the course of an 8-10 hour day, creating significant foot and leg fatigue.

Often times, the normal crease created across the ball of the toes of a shoe is altered by the steel toe.  One common complaint of those required to wear these shoes is that of pain in the base of the 2nd and 3rd toes.  This is caused by an inflammation of the ball toe.  With a steel toe shoe, there can be increased pressure under the ball of the 2nd and 3rd toes as a result of the length of the steel toe.  In addition, many workboots have a heel of some height.  A heel even 1/2" higher than the forefoot can add pressure to the forefoot, much like a high heel shoe.  The metatarsal guard can resist the normal bend of the shoe across the forefoot.

For the most comfort, an athletic type shoe is recommended.  When a corrosive or heat resistive material such as leather is required, along with a steel toe and/or a metatarsal guard, to attain the most ideal comfort, the lower the height of the heel the better, along with a good quality arch support, or ideally, a custom molded shoe insert (orthotic), is the best way to minimize undue pressure that often leads to foot pain.  When NOT working, wear a good, sturdy, supportive athletic shoe and avoid barefeet, flip flops, and sandals.   

Am I Buying A Good Shoe?

There are literally thousands of different shoe brands and models available all claiming to be "the best"; from Shape Ups, Fit Flops, to regular walking and running shoes.  SO, how in the world is the consumer to know which shoes are the best for them?

First, you must understand what qualities make a shoe a good quality shoe?  A few simple tests can help. 

For the most comfort, stability, and support, a good walking shoe or running shoe is the best place to start.  i know of no foot specialist that recommends Skechers' Shape Ups.  While the idea may make marketing sense, a rocker bottom shoe has never been required by someone with normal foot/leg mechanics.  For a typical walking shoe, the sole of the shoe should be stable enough to resist bending across the middle.  If you can bend the shoe in half, directly across the center of the shoe, it is not considered a stable shoe.  Keds, for example, are not conducive to foot comfort long term. 

The white material on the bottom of virtually all walking and running shoes is called ethyl vinayl acetate (EVA).  This material provides good shock absorption, but does not typically last very long at all.  It is for THIS reason that a new shoe will feel much more "cushy" when first worn as opposed to weeks later.  You will find that the more expensive the shoe, the wider range of materials will be placed under the inside, bottom portion of the heel.  This is done to prevent wear and break down of this portion of the shoe.

CHEAPER SHOES

 

The more expensive the shoe, the more research and design goes in to the shoe, with different materials under the inside portion of the heal, in effort to prevent early break down of this portion of the shoe.  Over the years, the materials have varied WIDELY, from springs, air bags, open spaces, to higher density materials. 

MORE EXPENSIVE SHOES

 

While I don't have a particular BRAND of shoe that I recommend, I personally wear NEW BALANCE.  New Balance spends a significant amount of money in their research and development, and allow the quality of their products to speak for themselves; they don't pay some athlete $80mil to wear their shoe.  They don't pay ANY athletes to wear their shoes.  The quality speaks for itself.  They're made in the good ole USA.  In short, remember, with a good walking or athletic shoe, you get what you pay for.  You will not find a good quality shoe for under $60.  And finally, if the shoe is worn regularly or at least 5 times a week, the function and support of the shoe wears out LONG before the cosmetic appearance.  If your foot begins to hurt, purchasing a new pair of good, supportive shoes is the FIRST place to start!

Vibram 5 Finger Shoes In Trouble

Five Separate Law Firms File Class Action Lawsuit Against Vibram

One brand of shoe that has gained popularity over the past few years, Vibram, has gained popularity for their individual recesses in the shoe for each individual toe.  In the claim, it is alleged that several people have sustained pain or injury as a result of the design of the toe receptacles, among other things.

 

The concept of a recess for each individual toe in a shoe does not make sound sense.  The toes of all of us vary widely in size, shape, and length.  It is virtually impossible to expect each toe to rest comfortably within this space.  While this new design has some visual appeal, the funcionality of the shoe, in my opinion, lacks sound sense.

Hypoglycemia - What does it mean?

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a condition associated with a drop in blood sugar level, below what is considered normal.  When the blood sugar drops, usually below about 70mg/dL, the symptoms of hypoglycemia can start.  Shaking, sweating, nausea, and palpitations are some of the signs of an abnormal drop in blood sugar.

So what causes the blood sugar to drop?

When we eat, the sugars and carbohydrates must be utilized either by releasing energy, or stored in the body.  The process to use the sugars requires insulin, which is secreted from the pancreas.  The amount and duration of insulin released is determined by the amount of sugar ingested, and is released shortly after eating.  If a normal balanced meal is consumed, there is a slower, more controlled amount of insulin released to digest the glucose (sugar).  However, with a high sugar meal, there is a rapid and large amount of insulin released to absorb and digest the glucose.  What happens within 2 1/2 - 4 hours after eating, is a rebound drop in the blood sugar.  The rapid, sharp rise of blood glucose causes a rapid, large release of insulin, which continues until the blood sugar is fully absorbed.  The insulin, however, does not stop as quickly as the blood sugar drops, causing the blood sugar to drop below normal, causing the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia.

To prevent a hypoglycemic episode, avoid eating a very sugary food on an empty stomach.  If you have not eaten in hours, and drink a regular soft drink and cotton candy, you are likely to develop a drop in blood sugar a few hours later.  However, if you eat something with some element of protein or more complex carbohydrates, such as crackers, peanut butter, or nuts, the blood sugar is not likely to drop to such low levels.

Eating balanced meals and avoiding very sugary foods is the best way to avoid the problems associated with hypoglycemia.

Additional information