Each year 44 million working days are lost due to foot or related back pain. According to the College of Podiatry, women lose four more working days than men due to those fabulous heels. Since foot pain is not fatal, it gets neglected resulting in close to 80% of the population suffering from some sort of foot ailment, most of them recurring to painful and risky surgical procedures as well as dangerous painkillers and questionable antibiotics.
According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, podiatrists are the second best paying healthcare occupation with a median salary of $114,000 for 2012. Part of this success is due to the high rate of ambulatory surgeries that take place in the doctor's office. Most podiatry procedures are performed to remove calcium or bone formation that causes an unbelievable pain within bone and ligaments. But such convenient and fast procedure comes with some risks. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a 2% rate of post-surgery foot infection rate which is slim compared with 20% of intra-abdominal surgery, and pretty high considering of course less invasive methods. Consider the following quote from doctors cited below published in December 2010 in Podiatry Today: "It is imperative for foot and ankle surgeons to have a detailed understanding of digital anatomy as well as a solid conceptualization of the biomechanical forces acting on the digits. Perhaps the reason surgical outcomes are so unpredictable is not because the toes are so intricate or complicated, but is more due to a lack of an adequate physical exam. Without a thorough exam, one cannot identify the deforming forces and thus cannot appropriately plan surgery. It is essential to approach digital surgery with an attention to detail, an accurate knowledge of anatomic structures and how the biomechanical function and forces are transmitted and disrupted with surgical augmentation", Johanna Richey, DPM, and Graham Hamilton, DPM, FACFAS.
If they have to bring up to the attention of the foot professionals that they really need to know their patients anatomy before they proceed surgically. If they feel the need to publish an article underlining the need of having "a detailed understanding", in other words, attention to detail, just like a parent would tell its children every day, something is wrong. The link to that article can be found here. The article talks about how 52% of patients that have undergone hammertoe surgery are unsatisfied with the results.
If you or a loved one are experiencing acute foot pain, do consider the risks before you choose a quick and easy surgery. Some patients end limping after surgery and although most report no complications in subsequent years, it is still a risk. The more invasive the intervention the bigger the risk. And there are so many intricate parts to the foot, such many tender and small and delicate parts, there is an increasing number of podiatrists and chiropractors advising against surgery altogether and suggesting reflexology, Ayurveda, homeopathy deep massage and simple acupuncture in order to alleviate and rid foot pain.
Famed actress Julianne Moore, who recently appeared in the thriller "Non-Stop" (2014) suffers from plantar fasciitis, or acute pain in the plantar fascia -a ligament that runs through the bottom of our feet connecting the heel to front of the foot. Moore like the rest of us, working through pain. I could only imagine -not feel- the pain she must have been going through walking down the red carpet enduring plantar fasciitis on top of those painful shoes. And, like her, so many role models instilling a very unhealthy habit that leads to not only foot deformations but walking impairment and even back injuries. All because we resist wearing shoe that comfortably fits and we won't massage our feet. Failing to massage is like failing to floss. It is through the massage where we regain energy and truly shape our muscles. Foot massage keeps its muscles and ligaments in place. The reason our feet hurt is mainly due to calcium (bone) formations in areas that have receded to the wrong pressure we exert on the foot mainly because of improper shoe fitting. So many days, years, a lifetime of wearing shoes that do not fit lead to foot deformation and constant acute pain. There is no beauty in such amount of pain.
A good, deep foot massage means less business for podiatrists. So is understandably in their best interest to steer you away from one of Nature's best remedies: the human touch. There are several ways in which you can provide much needed relief to yourself. Of course a self-massage, just like self-pleasurable activity, is not the same. If you have the blessing of having a significant other, a family member (son, daughter), this could be a perfect time for some true love and some true bonding, giving each other some good foot massages.
Start sitting down on the floor, preferably on a mat, and extend your right foot towards your partner, as your partner copies your movement so you are each facing each other with one right foot close to the partner's left hand. Let's do some reflexology.
Reflexology states that everything in your body is intricately connected in such a way that one could alleviate a headache by, say, massaging one big toe. Of course is not as easy as it sounds, but reflexology as a healing technique has been widely proven for thousands of years in eastern civilizations and recently within the scope of traditional medicine. In order to grasp the basics of reflexology, visualize that left family member's foot in front of you, standing up like that, imagine the human body standing by the foot. Starting with the big toe as the brain, nasal cavities are spread out through the end of the smaller toes. The neck is the neck of the big toe. Upper center of the foot is the lung. Towards the center or the arch of the foot you will find the intestines, spleen, liver and the like. Each deserving a special massage. So, according to reflexology, when you massage your feet, you are not only loosening that muscle so you can get to the deeper tissue and rid the extra calcium, you are also benefiting your whole body. The sexual organs are at the bottom of the foot, and the coccyx next to the very back. There is an equivalent for the hands and the ears as well.
To be able to provide one human's touch in order to heal another in such a powerful way, for free, with no side effects, nothing but a good feeling. If done within a couple, a foot massage in this way is a great foreplay and provides a deeper level of intimacy. So what more can one ask for? All for touching one's feet and enjoying the return of that favor!