Dudley Morton or Jimmy Choo
13 Jul 2017 by Nev Haynes
Health and foot marketing
In the animated film Wall-e (Pixar, 2008) all that remains of the human race survives in a space colony, away from a contaminated and dying planet. While a single surviving robot is dedicated to recycling debris on our abandoned planet, humans, after several generations floating in semi-weightlessness, sitting in manned seats and without needing to move, we become fat and deformed without remedy. Such is the inactivity of this space race, accustomed to not having to move, that we do not need to wear shoes. Foolish, useless feet hang from the armchairs that support a stunted and involuted body.
The lower extremities have always caught our attention. Artists, photographers, designers, athletes, medical specialists, religious and yes, fetishists also: www.wikifeet.com. The details of the foot have not escaped us for millennia: the remains of the colossal 12-meter-tall statue of Emperor Constantine, sculpted in Rome around 315 AD, also represent details of the imperial foot, including callosities and veins. Centuries later, the multifaceted Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) defined the human foot as “a masterpiece of engineering, as well as a work of art.”
The importance of the feet has become vital in some cases. Literally. Anglo-Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar in 1990 for portraying Christy Brown, suffering from cerebral palsy, who only used his left foot to write and paint. Alison Lapper, a British painter, famous for being born without arms because of the thalidomide that affected several children born in the 60’s, gets with her feet what few artists get with their hands. We do not exaggerate when affirming that the feet can save lives.
Our feet are the only part of our body that is always in physical contact with our environment, from the day our race evolved to stand on the hindquarters. Feet are limbs that attract sight and feed the curiosity and imagination of men and women, an erogenous element, which is adorned with enamel, bracelets or rings. They wear multi-design shoes. Feet are used for walking, running, enhancing the figure, showing off or even giving a massage. Feet, after all, are a very important part of our body, our life and our culture.
In China, until the early twentieth century, a long tradition that began thousands of years ago was to deform the young women’s feet, bandaging their fingers to fold them under the plant to give the foot a pointed shape. This made them seem smaller, according to the taste of then. Aesthetics preceded suffering, as it often does. We have the modern version of this made in the use of high heels. Bridging the gap with those young Cantonese, heels are a daily torture for millions of women who stylize their legs, enhance calves and lengthen their feet to highlight their beauty among others. Obviously, it is more comfortable to walk in sneakers than with heels, but the females are known more attractive with the latter.
heels are a daily torture for millions of women who stylize their legs, enhance calves and lengthen their feet to highlight their beauty among others
Morton’s neuroma, a painful lesion defined as the compression of the interdigital nerve of the foot, is much more common among women than men because of the prolonged and excessive use of high-heeled shoes. Who was Dudley Morton? This American surgeon, a professor at Yale University, diagnosed this condition in 1928, locating the cause of it. Almost nobody knows to date that in his day he was the most reputed podiatrist of his time. But we’ve all heard of Jimmy Choo. The exorbitant price paid for a pair of shoes of this firm only represents the importance given to aesthetics and glamor, relegating to the background functionality, health and of course, common sense and price. It seems that when it comes to feet and shoes, marketing premiums on welfare, consumerism on functionality, as in so many other things around us.
The treatment given to the feet – and to the footwear – varies from one culture to another, but the importance is similar. In Semitic religions, the feet symbolize the dirt of the road dust. The first Christians rinsed the feet of the guests who came to their homes. Muslims and Japanese take off their shoes before entering a room, symbolizing a purification and showing respect towards hosts. In northern European countries, it is customary to take your shoes off before entering a house, not being able to avoid showing the feet, or the socks, something that a Mediterranean considers something impudent. What is certain is that nobody likes to take off at airports to cross the security arches. Feet are something intimate that we like to keep clean and sometimes safe from strange eyes.
In northern European countries, it is customary to take your shoes off before entering a house, not being able to avoid showing the feet, or the socks, something that a Mediterranean considers something impudent
And so, medicine has also put itself at the service of the feet. Traumatologists, podiatrists and physiotherapists deal with ailments and injuries that are more common than we might think. Plantar fasciitis – also known as athlete’s foot – manifested with severe pain in the heel and sole of the foot, is caused by exercise overload, inadequate footwear or excessive pronation that has not been corrected with the insoles or exercises Required. Bunions, painful and unsightly, have a genetic origin but are accentuated by the use of flat shoes and inadequate shims. The footwear we choose is so important that it affects the posture when walking, and can be the source of some back pain.
In athletics, as in many other sports disciplines, the feet mean everything. Specialists recommend paying attention to the type of foot (pronator, supinator, neutral), choosing the footwear that suits us best. The simple shoes that Forrest Gump uses to run around the United States from coast to coast have evolved into sophisticated ultralight accessories, equipped with air cushions, incorporating the latest generation of materials to protect and allow maximum perspiration of the foot. Specialized footwear gives the foot that dose of evolution that we lack to be able to climb the most vertical cliffs, walk comfortably in the snow or run like the wind.
Even bionic prostheses that use amputated athletes, like crossbows composed of carbon fiber, bring us closer to records impossible to achieve after millennia of natural evolution. But not everything is science or consumerism. In the 1960s, the mythical long runner and two-time Olympic champion Abebe Bikila, a pioneer of a long line of Ethiopian athletes, competed in marathons running barefoot, emulating the first Greek athletes and challenging the sports equipment brands that offered him fortunes for wearing his clothes.
These same sportswear and clothing firms, while aware of the importance of designing comfortable and healthy shoes, tend to produce too narrow shoes for more attractive designs. It is frequent to fall into the mistake of choosing narrower shoes for aesthetic reasons, underestimating the damage that a slight sensation of discomfort can cause in the long run. Prolonged use of narrow shoes for running, golfing, mountain walking or cycling causes numbness of the foot which, in addition to being annoying, can lead to serious injury. Aware of this, more and more footwear manufacturers offer different measures of the widest shape, more comfortable and beneficial to the health of our feet.
It is frequent to fall into the mistake of choosing narrower shoes for aesthetic reasons
When Summer arrives, the pools are the perfect stage for the fungus to spread like wildfire on our feet, so it is advisable to wear footwear in public showers, as well as wash and dry them to avoid the bad combination of summer heat and humidity. If you are going to spend a few days on the beach, walking barefoot on the sand is good for stimulating the nerves of the sole, toning muscles and relaxing tendons. The point is to pay attention to our feet, which are as important as our hands. These, although evolved to become the dominant race of the planet, still need a pair of feet to move from one place to another. At least, of course, until the day comes when we have to go live in a space colony.