Are You Still What You Eat?

Years ago a popular saying started to circulate the community to help stimulate your dietary conscience. The saying "You are what you eat" was intended to remind us that the proper balance of foods has always proven to help provide the essential nutrients for good nutrition and aid in a healthy lifestyle. Even though the saying is less popular now, does it still have its merits? How much does what goes in your mouth and digestive system determine how healthy you are or what ailments you might have to suffer from? Being overweight, inactive, and always starving yourself to lose weight is not such a good thing.

When I hear, "I get plenty of exercise at work" or "I'm so busy with the family and kids that I don't have time to work out," I know that this individual has needs major lifestyle overhaul.

Another frequent statement is, "I don't eat much, and I don't know where this extra couple of hundred pounds came from, -It must be a thyroid condition." Well, very seldom is the problem with the thyroid! The problem is you. The junk you eat and swallow gets in your system and causes major health issues. What do you think that extra 50 - 200 pounds is doing to your feet? The feet are constructed to accept about 400 pounds of pressure per square inch during the walking process or "gait cycle". You should see the x-rays of an overweight person and how the bones have had to adapt to the additional weight. I've seen multiple stress fractures, degenerative joint disease and bone spurs as a result.

People forget to increase their shoe size and width to accompany all that extra weight. They keep on wearing that size 8 medium shoe on a size 9.5 or 10 wide foot. Keep in mind that the average difference from a size 8 to a size 9 pair of shoes is only about 1/4 inch! So it's easy to squeeze into that too small shoe in the morning but find that later that evening, if it takes that long, the foot is too swollen to fit comfortably. So they either squeeze into the too small shoe, which can cause obvious damage or just take the shoes off and carry them to the car and back home.

People are able to eat virtually anything to survive. We can adapt to most any environment and eat those foods common to that region of the world. In Alaska the Native Americans ate whale and blubber as their main dietary entrèe. Other parts of the world with warmer climates eat more vegetables, fruits, and nuts, tubular and berries to stay healthy. My concern is that other people in some parts of America have such unhealthy eating habits that they are at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, poor circulation and tooth decay. These poor eating habits are passed on from generation to generation along with the ailments they may cause. You may add on excessive tobacco and alcohol consumption to complicate matters.

Even in countries with low occurrence of cardiac problems (heart attacks), minimal hardening of the arteries and normal blood pressures can fall prey to the all American diet of fast foods and no exercise thereby increasing health risks. Studies show that when American fast food restaurants show up in foreign countries, so do the health problems. Do the math!

Sure your grandparents smoked tobacco, ate pork and lived to get almost 100 years old. But you are not your grandparents and times have changed. Now we have genetically modified foods that are larger, yield a greater harvest and last longer on the shelves or in the coolers. Did you know that some tomatoes have DNA from pigs added to make them grow larger and plumper?

Try eating foods that are not genetically altered and not bleached like white rice and white flower. Eat more natural rice and flowers that still are fresh with the natural oils and nutrients still in them. What about the five fruits a day theory? Do you eat a salad at lunch and dinner? Why do we like to cook the life out of our vegetables before serving them? Eat to live, don't live to eat!

A variety of recipes is available in our LifeStyles @ footDrHorsley section for you to try at home to help provide a balance to our meat and potato diets that we rush home to after work.

Feel free to submit your favorite recipes and we will publish them on our web site. Break the food chains that enslave you and keep you taking multiple medications to reverse the effects of poor eating habits. To your medical doctor who treats your high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, blurred vision, headaches, colon and breast cancer, heartburn, obesity, etc., with prescription medications: what's in your body system? How healthy are you? Do you lead by example or just eat "whatever" and take the same pills you give to your patients?

Get a check up and begin a daily exercise program. Try walking a mile or two and drinking plenty of water. So many people are functionally dehydrated. Coffee, juice, tea, Gatorade™ and cool-aid requires the bodies own water to be digested. Those liquids actually dehydrate you! Here's how much water you should drink daily; divide your body weight in half and change the pounds to ounces. Therefore if you weigh 160 pounds divide by 2 and you get 80 pounds. Change the pounds to ounces and you should be drinking 80 ounces of water a day. It's that simple. 80 ounces is about 2 1/2 quarts. Do the math! Drink up! News flash: the human body needs water to function properly. Drink up!

Singing The Hand-Me-Down Shoes Blues

By Neil L. Horsley, D.P.M.
footDrHorsley

"I've got the hand-me-down blues, 'cause I wear hand-me-down shoes."
"Where ever I go, the shoe hurts my big toe."
"I wouldn't have this rash that I caught, if only the shoes had been bought, for me."

The practice that many families have, where they pass down clothing and shoes to the next sibling in line, in an effort to save money, may work if the clothes fit. However that is not the case for the shoes. The old saying, "If the shoe fits wear it," really should not pertain to the children next in line in the family. There are many reasons why this is so. These reasons vary from the psychological effect of wearing second hand shoes to the negative effects pre-driven shoes can have on foot health.

There is a very positive effect that new clothing, in this case new shoes, has on an individual. There are self-esteem issues that are involved. Children especially need to feel good about themselves. Memories of second hand clothing (shoes) can affect how the child feels about himself for the rest of the child's life. Many times, patients mention that they believe that their foot problems are a direct result of the hand-me-down shoes they wore when they were children. These adults express how much they hated that practice during their childhood. They have never gotten over it.

There are multiple health issues associated with wearing hand-me-down shoes. First, if you would consider that the inside of a shoe is a dark environment. When a foot is inside the shoe you are adding warmth and moisture to this environment. This is perfect for certain bacteria and fungus to thrive within the materials and lining of the shoes. Many of these organisms especially the fungus can thrive within the shoe for as long as a year, and then pass along to the next foot to wear that shoe. Clearly this is a perfect way for athletes foot to get passed along from one child to another. There is also a bacterium that is a member of the Clostridia family that causes a terrible odor to emanate from the shoe especially when the shoe is removed. Sometimes washing in bleach and spraying the shoes with special powders cannot eliminate the odor causing bacteria or kill all of the fungus that resides there. Just imagine what can happen to the foot wearing one of these shoes when the foot forms a blister and exposes the underlying skin to these pathogens. The result can be a terrible bacterial or fungal infection.

Beyond the microscopic organisms, there are issues pertaining to the shoe size and fit for the next person who wears the shoes. Not all shoes will fit the same sized foot the same way. There are no two feet that are the same and structurally all feet are designed differently. Some people have a short heel to ball of the foot length and others have a long heel to ball of the foot length. Some have long toes while others have short stubby toes. Some have a long second toe, longer than the great toe. If all of these people measure for the same sized shoe, I am sure that you can clearly see that these different foot types will not feel the same in the same sized shoe, if the shoe were new. In fact the same sized new shoe will not fit all of these feet. It is truly important that a shoe will bend appropriately at the point where the ball of the foot bends the toes. If this bending of the foot or the shoe occurs at the wrong time or place on the foot or in the shoe, the shoe will cause severe problems, pain or foot malfunction. A well-worn shoe, takes on the shape and deformity of the foot wearing the shoe. This deformity is therefore "locked" into the shoe. We call this, "breaking in the shoe." A lot of people have subtle to severe foot deformities that they will lock into the shape of the shoe after wearing it for a while. Evidence of these deformities can be seen in the wear of the heel and soles of the shoes. By replacing the heels and soles of the shoes does not remove the deformities of the feet that had previously worn the shoes.

If your practice is to pass hand-me-down shoes from one sibling to the next, keep in mind that in the long run you may be saving money now but in the long run, you are promoting potentially serious foot health problems on your children. To avoid these problems, make sure that every foot gets properly measured with a Brannock device that takes into account the heel to ball length and the overall length of the foot. Remember that all feet are different and all shoes fit all feet differently.

When you provide your children with new properly fitting shoes, you allow them to have a stronger self-esteem, healthier in shoe environment and fit that allows the foot to function properly within the shoe.

About the author:

Dr. Neil L. Horsley practices from his Chicago office at:

231 E. 75th Street,
Chicago, Illinois 60619-2215
Office appointments: (773) 651-2311

Shoe Buying Guide

Is it time for you to throw away those old athletic shoes and buy a new pair?
Well, odds are that if you can't remember when you purchased the ones you currently own then the answer is YES. It is very important that you do not continue to wear shoes that no longer provide the proper support your feet need while playing sports.

Is it time for you to throw away those old athletic shoes and buy a new pair?
Well, odds are that if you can't remember when you purchased the ones you currently own then the answer is YES. It is very important that you do not continue to wear shoes that no longer provide the proper support your feet need while playing sports.

You should also have a different pair of shoes for each activity to ensure your feet are getting the maximum protection. For example, if you play basketball it is recommended that you wear a high-topped shoe with plenty of ankle support and shock absorption. If you are not sure about what characteristics you need in a shoe for your sport, then visit your podiatrist or a very knowledgeable sales associate.

Shoe buying tips

  • Be prepared to spend for the quality your feet need.
  • Have both feet measured, while standing, every time you buy shoes. Your feet change with age, weight, and many other reasons.
  • If your feet are different sizes, always purchase for the larger of the two.
  • Have your athletic shoe fitted during the time of day you will normally be wearing them. For daily footwear, fittings should be done later in the day when feet are their largest.
  • Try on shoes while wearing the style of socks you anticipate wearing with the shoes.
  • Completely lace your shoes and walk around the store with both pairs on.
  • If you wear orthotics, be sure to buy a shoe that is suited for their use.
  • If the shoes do not feel comfortable in the store, then don't buy them.

You should also have a different pair of shoes for each activity to ensure your feet are getting the maximum protection. For example, if you play basketball it is recommended that you wear a high-topped shoe with plenty of ankle support and shock absorption. If you are not sure about what characteristics you need in a shoe for your sport, then visit your podiatrist or a very knowledgeable sales associate.

Shoe buying tips

Be prepared to spend for the quality your feet need.
Have both feet measured, while standing, every time you buy shoes. Your feet change with age, weight, and many other reasons.
If your feet are different sizes, always purchase for the larger of the two.
Have your athletic shoe fitted during the time of day you will normally be wearing them. For daily footwear, fittings should be done later in the day when feet are their largest.
Try on shoes while wearing the style of socks you anticipate wearing with the shoes.
Completely lace your shoes and walk around the store with both pairs on.
If you wear orthotics, be sure to buy a shoe that is suited for their use.
If the shoes do not feel comfortable in the store, then don't buy them.

Ouch! That Hurts!

How many times have you cracked that little toe not paying attention to where you're walking? What time of the night or early morning do you stump your toe on the nightstand, dresser or doorframe and feel like wetting your pants? Then it's off to the refrigerator for some ice to pack that toe in until it goes numb on its way to getting frostbite before the pain stops.

Several types of damage can occur from a simple contusion to the skin and soft tissue to a tear of ligaments or capsule at the joint where the toe bends. Sometimes, much worse is the case where a fracture occurs to that baby toe that's so small and sensitive. Yes, all your body weight being applied during your normal gait cycle (walking stride) to the next step, with that foot and leg in its full swing phase and all that pressure is directed to the bottom leg of the nightstand instead of the floor. Upon impact, you hear a snap, crackle and a pop and off you go hopping around, shouting (or thinking) any variety of words like darn it, shucks, or sometimes worse, with the injured foot in hand looking for a quick place to sit down hoping that it's not broke.

For the simple injury the pain subsides, the toes just a little sore while you tip to your destination, most often the bathroom, being very careful how you walk. "Maybe I should have worn a house shoe and stop going barefoot all the time. I was just going to down the hall or across the room. Such a short distance to have caused all this pain!" Sometimes there's already a small split or tear in the skin of the baby toe secondary to tinea pedis (athlete's foot) and you go and make it worse by stumping it. Now that the skin is really damaged, bacteria and germs and get in to cause an infection. Some infections are known to travel deep into the foot presenting more serious problems like osteomyelitis, a bone infection.

What if you're a diabetic, have poor circulation or both? What if you wack your toe and can't feel the pain because you have neuropathies, numbness or may have lost your protective sensations to alert the body that an injury has occurred? What if you were out drinking all night and the alcohol has you pickled. You kick off your shoes and stump that precious little toes and don't even feel the pain until the next day when the alcohol wears off. Depending on how soon you discover your injury correlates with the prognosis. Usually, the longer you wait to get treatment for a foot injury, the worse the problem is. I've known a 52yr old diabetic male with neuropathies and decreased sensory, to die from an ingrown nail! He couldn't feel the pain so he thought that his toe would get better because it didn't hurt. He eventually had three separate limb amputations. First his baby toe was removed. Followed by a below the knee (BK) amputation and later a hip disarticulation prior to his expiration from sepsis, an infection of the blood stream.

So often I think of my practice as an emergency room for the foot and ankle. Digital fractures and contusions, ankle sprains, ulcers and wounds, infections and ingrown nails just to name a few. Protect your feet from injury. You know that it's inevitable that there's a kick, bump, step on, dropped something on or twist on the way to your foot soon.

Try wearing strong durable AnywearsEverywears or Beachwears clogs at all times.

At home the perfect house shoe to help prevent a "piss" fracture (a broken baby toe on the way to urinate).

At the pool, beach or gym just remove the soft insole and they protect the feet in water, sand and showers. Just wash or rinse and dry them with a towel, put in the linings and away you go. Clogs are the shoes of choice at the airport for easy removal for that body search we are now all subject to. Even driving is more relaxing when you can back your feet out and wiggle your toes form time to time.

You will love your new clogs that are available in a variety of colors and styles. Try not going barefoot and show that nail or piece of glass that you are serious in preventing damage to your toes and sweet feet.