Work on your feet? Better invest in bunion splints

 

When I was in my teens and 20s, I worked as a waitress at a local restaurant. The job allowed me to make extra money on the weekends and ample opportunity to flirt with cute customers. But now I'm beginning to think that the job may have been the catalyst for my bunions and hammer toe.

I'll be the first to admit that my love of stilettos probably played a part in the development of my foot pain, but research consistently shows that people with occupations that require long-term standing or walking are more likely to develop problems like bunions, hammer toe and fallen arches.

The New York Post recently reported on the issue, talking to a number of professionals for whom foot pain has become just another occupational hazard. One man, a guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said he experienced sharp back pain, while a Brooklyn doorman complained of muscles that stiffen and lock after a long shift.

Bob Schwartz, owner of a shoe store that specializes in comfortable footwear, told the news source that these types of occupations can cause a number of conditions, including bunions, nerve swelling and plantar fasciitis, among other chiropractic issues.

"Gravity pulls us toward the ground, so as we get older there’s often curvature of the spine and tightness of the neck and head," said Schwartz, quoted by the news source.

Other experts recommended that people who work on their feet use their breaks to take a short walk, as this stretches muscles and may reduce fatigue. Additionally, wearing supportive, well-fitted shoes may help ease pain, and high-top sneakers can provide ankle stability.

If and when bunions develop, workers are wise not to ignore them. According to Harvard Medical School researchers, bunions form at a "critical junction" in the foot, meaning that they can have a substantial impact on a person's mobility. Additionally, experts from the school recommend trying conservative methods of bunion correction, which include wearing shoes that have enough space in the toe box, padding bunions, icing the feet and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Many people have also found relief in using bunion splints or orthotics. These devices work by providing support where it's needed and by holding the big toe straight, which may prevent bunions from advancing.

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Are shoes the real window into the soul?

 

I love to people-watch and tend to pay special attention to the shoes of passers-by. It's easy to spot a woman with bunions or hammer toe, as she may walk with a slight pronation, and minimalists certainly have a way with their slip-ons or sneakers, haughtily free of foot pain.

But it appears as though shoes can indicate personality traits in addition to foot problems.

An article in Glamour magazine features the opinions of different men on women's shoe choices, from sexy to demure. The dudes in this article are oh-so predictable.

One man, 23-year-old Brian, told the ladies' mag that a woman wearing a pretty combination of slate-grey tights and blush-colored suede heels should consider ditching her Katherine Heigl addiction.

"I hate her rom-coms and obsession with flourless chocolate cake, but I love everything else about her," he told the magazine.

Another man, Michael, 31, was simply confused by a pair of flower-print stilettos.

"Could that be her hand in the shoe? Maybe it is her hand in the shoe. Ankles just don't bend that way," Michael said to the news source.

A woman wearing plum-colored platforms was described as being obsessed with social media and pop tunes, while another lady donning a pair of leopard-print heels with ankle straps came off as self-absorbed in one gentleman's opinion.

Real original, guys! Let's see what the ladies have to say about shoes and personality. Fashion blog MillionLooks.com gave its rundown of what different shoes can say about the woman wearing them.

Bunion-inducing stilettos apparently signal a vivacious and extraordinary personality, according to the website. Also, these shoes give off an air of confidence and sex appeal. (Note: This is only true if you can walk gracefully in these towering shoes. Trust me, few things look less sexy than hobbling around because your bunions hurt.)

What about ladies who prefer flats? Well, the bloggers seem to associate this sensible footwear with a fashionable woman who knows how to treat herself and others with kindness, even if she is a touch on the boring side.

Just as shoes can indicate facts about a person, so can the state of their feet. People with bunions, hammer toe or fallen arches are likely to go rough on their tootsies, and may eventually require painful bunion surgery. That is, unless they nip the problem in the bud by wearing bunion splints and orthotics as soon as the bony deformities begin to appear.

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Malaysian shoe store offers a man to rub your bunions with every purchase

 

Shoes and men – does a better combination exist? I think not. Which is why, dear readers, I'll be taking off for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia soon to visit a little retailer called Shoes Shoes Shoes.

Media outlets have been reporting on the store, which, in a stroke of genius, has finally brought two of the greatest pleasures on Earth together. Here's how it works: You go in and buy a sumptuous pair of heels, then go on the retailer's website and search for men who have offered to pay for a portion or the entire cost of pair of shoes in exchange for a date.

Shoes Shoes Shoes made this happen by partnering with the dating website LunchActually.com. Men from the dating site use it to choose 20 pairs of shoes that they would be willing to chip in for – that is, if an attractive customer agrees to go on a date with them. After the date, the woman is reimbursed for her footwear splurge by her suitor. Oh, and did I mention that the store is staffed with shirtless young hunks?

The shop's Facebook page touts the service as a kind of Sex and the City fantasy, while The Huffington Post suggested that there may be a seedier side to it.

"You might be wondering – isn't this a form of shoe prostitution?" HuffPo writer Alice Hines pondered.

New York Magazine pointed out that the service may end up setting women up with men who have foot fetishes.

Well, methinks that the HuffPo and NY Mag may want to lay off the judgment and consider that perhaps some of us don't mind mixing our shoes with pleasure. Studies have shown that the feet are one of the most pined after body parts of fetishists. Indeed, I've dated more than my share of these types, and – for the most part – they're fine, upstanding citizens like the rest of us.

One issue that may be cause for concern is the foot conditions that may be exacerbated by the towering heels sold at Shoes Shoes Shoes. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that wearing pumps and stilettos on a regular basis can lead to foot pain, bunions, hammer toe or fallen arches.

As such, I'll be wearing my bunion splints for the entire duration of my flight to Malaysia. Many have seen these bunion correction devices make significant improvements in their bony foot deformities.
 

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Old folks now allowed to keep their bunions concealed at airport checkpoints

 

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has just given me a reason to look forward to old age: Seniors over the age of 75 will no longer be required to remove their shoes when going through airport security checkpoints.

Honestly, this is just a relief for us all, isn't it? The last time I flew, I found myself standing behind an elderly couple, both of whom were oblivious to the shoe-removal regulation until an employee asked them kindly to take off their footwear. What was revealed when those orthotic shoes came off can only be described as a podiatrist's dream – or nightmare: bunions, hammer toe and thick, yellow toenails.

After recovering from the trauma of seeing first-hand what I may well have in my future, I regained composure, peered down at my own bunions and wished to the travel gods that the TSA would change its regulations on shoes at security checkpoints.

They must have heard my prayers, because beginning on March 19, four airports – in Chicago, Denver, Orlando and Portland, Oregon –  will be testing the new regulations to allow passengers who are 75 years or older to keep on their shoes and light outerwear. According to the TSA website, these individuals may be required to go through a second scan if anything from the first round raises any red flags.

Additionally, old folks may no longer be subjected to pat-downs, as the new measures are purported to cut down on the number of these screening procedures that need to be conducted.

After the trial period, the TSA will decide whether to implement the new regulations across the country.

In addition to sparing us all the sight of old people's feet, the guidelines may allow easier travel for individuals with arthritis, many of whom find it difficult to bend over and may lack the dexterity needed to tie and untie shoes without challenges. And we can all be grateful that grandma and grandpa can make it to Florida with minimal hassle, can't we?

No matter their age or the cause of their bunions – whether they stem from arthritis or wearing high heels too often – people with the bony deformity may be able to find a sense of relief in baring their feet in public with non-invasive bunion correction. Such methods include using orthotics during the day and bunion splints at night, which may provide the support needed to alleviate foot pain.

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Bunion-squeezing shoes are no longer a requisite for brides

Today's bride favors Kate Middleton's style over Kim Kardashian's and turns to technology to help plan her wedding day, according to a Chicago Tribune article. More couples are choosing less extravagance and more do-it-yourself themed celebrations, and that means sky-high satin heels and bank-breaking dresses are no longer the norm.

This indicates that we may no longer have to look on with pity as brides and bridesmaids take off their shoes mid-reception to rub their bunions. Perhaps even better, we may begin to see the trend of people changing into hideous rubber flip flops when their feet begin to ache disappear.

Modest low wedges or even flats come in a number of colors and styles to allow brides to let their personalities shine through while proving comfort. The news source reported that ladies in white also prefer individual photos of the shoes and jewelry. However, while modest and fun, this type of bridal footwear doesn't always come cheap.

"Especially with social media, where shoes are popping up on tweets, we'll see the girl who would never spend $100 on a pair of shoes drop $700 on shoes for her wedding day because she wants to wear a specific colored sole," said event planner Kelly Seizert, of Washington, D.C., quoted by the Tribune.

Methinks that was a nod to Christian Louboutin, purveyor of crimson-soled shoes coveted by women across the country. Unfortunately, while these pumps and stilettos may make legs look lengthy, they're also likely to exacerbate conditions like bunions, hammer toe and fallen arches.

Brides who want to follow this year's spring footwear trends may want to consider the suggestions made on the Yahoo! blog Shine.

According to the news source, braided sandals are among the top trends for this upcoming spring. These boho-inspired shoes add an unexpected twist to brides opting for simple, off-white sheaths.

Metallic tones are still going strong, with an emphasis on the toes and heels. These two-toned shoes hark back to the mod looks of the 1960s but with a millennial touch. This type of footwear may look best with simple dresses so the shoes stand out.

But no matter what type of shoe the bride chooses, wearing bunion splints nightly and orthotics daily should be part of a pre-wedding regimen, because even flats can begin to cause foot pain when bunions are involved.
 

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