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In Brief

"In a recent Dr. Scholl's Shoe Survival Survey, 90 percent of the respondents admitted to slipping of their shoes to relieve their feet. Ninety-eight percent said they take their shoes off upon getting home. Outside the home, women are more likely than men to slide out of their footwear: 57 percent do so at the office, 44 percent at a party, 43 percent on public transit, 39 percent at a restaurant or nightclub and 34 at a wedding."

"Barefoot in the Park," Albuquerque Journal, Sept. 2, 1993, p. D3

"Our shoes hurt … but we wear them anyway. According to anew survey by the American Podiatric Association, 44 percent of American women wear shoes that are uncomfortable because they look good. A third of us wear high heels even though we know they're damaging to our feet; more than half of us experience some kind of foot pain. In fact, more women report pain than in a similar survey nine years age."

"Beauty," Redbook, December, 1992, p. 22

"Forget those stomach cramps your mother always said you'd get if you went in swimming right after eating. The most common kind of cramp or ailment of any kind associated with swimming is foot. cramps, says Neal Rubin, a high school swim coach. Exercising and stretching and massaging the foot muscle and arch before getting into the water are best preventatives, says James McQuire, a podiatric physician at the Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine."

"Cramping their (free) Style," Albuquerque Journal, Aug. 23, 1993, p. B5

"Just how big are Matthew McGrory's feet? … he may be the only person on the planet whose shoe size exceed s his age. McGrory is 19 years old. And Has size 23 feet. Feet that have just put the West Chester University student in the Guiness Book of World Records." His shoes are custom made at $800 a pair. His mother makes his socks by sewing two socks together to make one. The Converse shoe company has provided him with size 22 sneakers.

Albuquerque Journal

Modern shoe sizes do not mix well with the typical outdated stair step. Or so says an Atlanta architect who has studied stair case safety for 23 years. He has found that the staircase of today is designed "for the size of shoe people wore in 1850. … "But people[ today have bigger feet that hang over the edges of stairs throwing them off balance." Laura Neergaard, "Atlanta Architect Steps Up Quest for Safe Staircases, p. C10, Albuquerque Journal, Nov. 9, 1993.

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Reflexology: Stiletto Solution

Fall fashion trend a pain

• Reflexology is the solution to foot woes caused by wearing the "accessory for fall," the stiletto-heeled shoe, according to Vogue's senior market editor Lauren Dupont. "Stilettos are a challenge, but they're sleek and sexy; we will have to bear the pain. Reflexology will have a great year," says Dupont. ("Arts & Media: The One Must-Have Accessory? Great Legs," Time, Sept. 8, 1997)

• A "pedicure with reflexology is great before a spike-heeled night" suggests Vogue magazine in a "Late-night Directory" of Manhattan cosmetology, massage, and bodywork services. ("Vogue's Index," Vogue, Sept. 1997, p. 704)

• If I stopped to think about how I walk in these, I probably couldn't." Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, commenting on her five-inch heels. ("Perspectives," Newsweek, Oct. 6, 1997)

• The cover of the Sept. 22, 1997 issue of The New Yorker features a silhouette illustration of women walking on extremely high heels. Each of the five figures is pictured with a bandaged ankle and a cane.

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The Reflex Revisited

Old time medical folklore includes advice about the feet and colds according to a recent article in Parents magazine. The advice appears to have basis in the foot's reflexive responses.

"Folklore: Getting your feet wet when it's cold outside, or going outside with wet hair, will make you catch cold.

"False. Colds are caused by viruses that are carried by people - not by getting chilled. People get more colds in winter because they're more likely to be in close quarters with people who may have colds. Nonetheless, there may be something to this myth after all. 'You lose a lot of body heat through your feet and head. If your head is wet and your feet are cold and wet, it's more difficult to stay warm. There is fairly conclusive evidence that if your body temperature drops, so does your resistance to infection.' says Charles Aswad. "

"Folklore: Sticking your feet in a basin of hot water can relieve a cold.

"True. 'There is some truth behind the typical cartoon depiction of a cold sufferer: feet in a hot basin of water, cap on head, and the window open a crack, with snow creeping in,' says David Fairbanks. 'While cool air signals the blood vessels in the lining of the nose to contract and reduces nasal congestion, cold feet and a cold head have the opposite effect. Keeping your head and feet warm and the temperature in the room relatively cool makes a lot of sense.' " ("Feed a Fever? … While medical folklore abounds with misinformation, there's often a kernel of truth in Grandma's advice," Parents, Feb., 1991, pp. 120-123)

Unusual Foot Baths

In what has to be one of the most unusual foot baths in history, Scotch whiskey, salvaged from a ship wrecked during World War II off the coast of Scotland, was used as a foot bath. Warehouses in Scotland were being bombed during the war so 250,000 bottles of the finest Scotch whiskey were being sent by ship to Jamaica and New Orleans to save it. The ship, the S. S. Politician, ran aground near the Scottish islands of South Uist and Eriskay on Feb. 5, 1941. "The scotch became prized possessions of the islanders. Scavenged bottles were hidden (from local tax collectors) everywhere - under stacks of hay, in holes dug in the ground, inside the walls of living rooms. Old women even bathed their feet in Scotch to ease their rheumatism." ("Whiskey Galore Returns - for Collectors," Albuquerque Journal, March 6, 1991, p. D-10)

Mythology

In Hindu mythology, the Ganges River begins at the feet of Buddha.

Pressure Plate

The latest innovation in prosthetic devices is a pressure sensor inserted into the shoe. The pressure plate was developed to aid those who have problems walking, standing or driving. For example, individuals with diabetes frequently experience a lessened ability to feel the extremities and judge the terrain underfoot. As a result some with diabetes press too hard on the ground when walking, causing lesions that can become infected leading to serious health problems. (OMNI Magazine, Feb.,1991)

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