Why neglecting your feet can be affecting your health and wellbeing

Why neglecting your feet can be affecting your health and wellbeing

Foot shame is never really discussed in the medical field, nor is it discussed in the cosmetic world, or the aesthetics too. However, it can have crippling effects on people’s wellbeing.

Coming up to twenty years in my career as a podiatrist, foot shame is something a treat day in and day out. I’m astounded by how many people live feeling ashamed of their feet and do nothing about it. Especially because most common foot conditions are easy to treat, so there is no need for suffering in silence and feeling body shame.

The reality is neglecting your feet can have a detrimental effect on your overall health and stop you from enjoying life to its fullest.

Sadly, there are no medical studies released that analyse the impacts of foot shame or treat the problem. The only treatment that seems to be available is the medical pedicure.

The one thing that really startled me was the discovery of a Facebook group called 'I Hate Feet', with 80,000 followers claiming 'I Hate Feet'. Considering that I have spent my whole career helping people with their legs and feet, improving the quality of their life, treating their foot shame, their low self-esteem, their depression and supporting them to improve their confidence, their wellbeing, their activity, their overall active lifestyle, it saddens me to see that feet are hated by so many people.

I also found some small research carried out by the American Podiatry Association which revealed that astonishingly 50% of women hate their feet. So, what is causing someone to hate such a vital part of their body? Where is the love? Where's the acceptance and the overall awareness of how important your feet actually are?

Regardless of their shape or size, feet are absolutely everything. However, they are poorly considered or taken care of. The question here is why do people ignore feet or hate them so much?

The answer to me is clear: footshame. Unless there's pain that's stopping people from doing something or unless there's a cosmetic problem, feet are simply ignored.

Most people will pay attention to their feet during the summer months but as soon as the sandal season is over, they’ll forget about them until the next one.

Believe me, I’ve seen this behaviour repeatedly. For the Callen Olive brand photoshoot, we hired a mansion in Northampton. It was about an hour from my clinic in the middle of nowhere, and I’m certain, it was a Tuesday. So to actually get models to the location during the hours we needed them was incredibly challenging. So we ended up moving from modelling agencies in London to modelling agencies in Birmingham. But what made the experience so difficult was to actually find models that didn't have fungal toenails or foot issues. Obviously we were shooting bare legs and feet, so they did need to be healthy.

I didn’t want perfection — first because perfection doesn't exist, and second because I wanted people to connect with the brand and show real people.

Even after choosing the most suitable models, on the actual set, they all needed their feet done as well as their hair and make up. So, there was me delivering pedicures.  I had to nucleate corns, debride callus, exfoliate, and deeply condition to ensure they met the standards needed for the photography.

The most interesting fact was that these models confessed they had never had their feet done before.

So this brings me back to the same question: why are people ignoring their feet?

For me the issue comes down to awareness. People don’t connect that foot health is vital for overall well being and that foot issues can have a detrimental effect on the quality of their lives.

It’s imperative that we raise awareness of foot health and the podiatry profession. Educating people about the role of the podiatrist and the need for regular lower limbs checkouts. Sharing more content on what we treat — from skin and nail pathology to fungal nails, and verrucas to orthotics, heel pain and sports injuries.

Get in touch if you’re a podiatry professional seeking to raise the profile of your clinic to deliver your clients a first-class experience. Our products are available for stocking across the UK and overseas.

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