Diabetes levels at an all time high

More people in Scotland have diabetes than ever before – and the number is continuing to rise, according to figures published by a charity.

Diabetes Scotland said the number of people registered with the condition reached an all-time high of 276,000 last year.

About 17,200 of these had been newly-diagnosed, the charity said.

About 10% of the total had Type 1 diabetes, with the majority of the remainder diagnosed with Type 2.

The charity also said an estimated 45,500 people were living with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes in Scotland.

The figures were released to coincide with the start of Diabetes Week, which aims to raise awareness of the condition.


Car-loving Britons are too lazy to walk!

The car-loving Britons who refuse to walk: One in five people now stroll for less than 15 minutes a day

New research from the College of Podiatry which was published in the Daily Mail today states that:

  • Research finds walking short distances almost always shunned by drivers
  • Nearly half of public would take the car when visiting friends or local shop
  • Lazy habits revealed despite 40 per cent admitting they need to walk more
  • Excuses for not walking include weather worries and uncomfortable shoes

In the study, fifty three per cent admit driving or using public transport to reach a destination which is in ‘easy walking distance’. Shockingly, one in 20 say they will ‘always’ drive somewhere they could easily walk to.

That’s despite 40 per cent of those polled admitting they need to walk more, with nearly half saying they should to be ‘more active’ – and one in every five getting nowhere near the recommended 15 minutes of walking each day.

The research, which was commissioned to mark foot health awareness campaign, Feet for Life month (June), asked 2,000 UK adults about how much they walk.  The findings showed that only a few of us use our own two feet to get around.  Shockingly, more than half of us (54 per cent) admit to driving or using public transport to reach a destination which is in ‘easy walking distance’. This is despite four in ten of us (40 per cent) acknowledging that we need to walk more, and 46 per cent recognising that we need to be ‘more active’.

Idle Brit’s love of wheels is further highlighted, with one in 20 (6 per cent) confessing they would ‘always’ drive somewhere where they could easily walk and 20 per cent admitting to doing this ‘frequently’.

Almost half (44 per cent) cited ‘time’ and ‘arriving as soon as possible’ as being the biggest factor in determining what method of transport to use.  Perhaps not surprisingly for a nation of weather worriers, 61 per cent said the weather plays a huge part and often results in them driving to a nearby location.

But the excuses don’t end there, ten per cent worry their feet will hurt after walking, and 17 per cent refuse to walk as they feel ‘tired’. A further one in ten (11 per cent) blame their shoes and say they are not ‘comfortable’ enough to walk in.

The study also shows how we cannot even be bothered to take a relaxing stroll to our closest shop.  Almost two thirds of us (62 per cent) have a local newsagent less than half a mile away – but three in ten (31 per cent) still prefer to drive or use public transport.

Worryingly, we’re not setting a good example to the next generation with a fifth of parents admitting to driving their children to school (19 per cent).  Even though more than a quarter (27 per cent) revealed their child’s school is less than a mile away from their home.

Just one in ten (12 per cent) of us choose to walk to work and a measly 15 per cent walk their children to school.

And it seems we over-use our cars so much we can’t resist driving them even when we are at our place of work.  The research found a fifth of us (19 per cent) even drive to a shop to buy lunch when we are at work rather than walking.

Meanwhile, more than four in ten (44 per cent) use their cars to pop to the local takeaway and a third (35 per cent) use it to take a trip to the local cafe.

Commenting on the findings, The College of Podiatry said: “It’s a shame to see that so few of us are failing to use our own two feet to get about.  Walking for just 30 minutes a day can bring so many health benefits.  It’s a great way to improve fitness gently and can be a suitable form of exercise for many people.  The findings also suggest that we don’t seem to setting a good example to children showing that walking can be a great way to travel.  Being comfortable in your shoes is key to walking, wearing supportive footwear is paramount to the enjoyment of a walk. Your feet are designed to carry you around and they shouldn’t hurt on a daily basis. So if you are avoiding walking due to discomfort in your feet it is usually because you aren’t wearing the right footwear for the activity you are doing. If you are interested in walking more but are suffering with foot pain, seek professional advice.”

The Benefits of Walking:

  • Walking helps condition your body and improve overall cardiovascular health.
  • Walking carries significantly lower risk of injury than running or jogging.
  • Taking a stroll can reduce stress, give you time to clear your head and helps with better sleep.
  • It’s a free, safe, all round work-out that doesn’t need special equipment.
  • Walking an extra 20 minutes a day, will burn more than 3kg of body fat a year.
  • A single step uses up to 200 muscles.  So as well as cardio, you are also toning muscles.
  • Walking can halve your risk of coronary heart disease and help prevent some cancers and cuts cholesterol.
  • Walking helps the muscles and ligaments in our feet to work more efficiently, and helps keep them supple and flexible.
  • Consult a podiatrist if you start to develop pain when walking, or consider a visit before embarking on your new walking programme. For more information on foot health and to find a podiatrist near to you visit www.feetforlife.org.

[1] A survey conducted on behalf of The College of Podiatry by One Poll amongst 2,000 UK adults aged 18+. The survey was conducted online between 09/03/2015 – 12/03/2015

We are born to be on the move! If you read Mike Stroud’s book Survival of the Fittest your outlook on the health benefits of keeping active will be changed forever.

Sam Cam’s feet again!

Poor Samantha Cameron’s feet have been under scrutiny yet again in the national press.

The Daily Mail have published an article entitled ‘Wearing heels for more than 3 years could do you harm’  which can be found on page 3.

Quite why women’s feet are vilified so much in the press is beyond me. If women wear comfortable low heeled shoes with laces which allow plenty of toe room, they get slammed. If they wear high heels or ballet pumps or court style shoes then get their feet on show they get slammed because their feet don’t look perfect.

Women have a bit of a no win situation when it comes to shoes.

Come on men, wear some nice heels for a whole day and just see how comfortable they are.

Every one, lets show the world what normal feet look like. Take a photo of your feet and upload to  #myfeettweet


It’s Foot health Month 2015, and our aim is to stop people being ashamed of their feet and to  reclaim them!

Katie Owen (Sargasso and Grey) and I (both passionate West London businesses) want people to start being out and proud of those poor feet we often hide away. I frequently see people who won’t wear lovely open toed sandals in summer because of what their feet look like. You know what? Very few of us have feet that look perfect. To us, if they work, they are perfect!

So why not help us and Tweet Your Feet? Take a photo of your feet and post it to Twitter with the hashtag #myfeettweet. The more people that do this, the more people will realise that there are very few perfect feet out there.

3 tips for loving your feet

To support the Society of Podiatrist and Chiropodist’s upcoming Feet for Life campaign this month, here are my top tips!

Love them, Live them, and Look after them!

Love them

Don’t be ashamed of your feet; reclaim them! Why not Tweet Your Feet? Take a photo of your feet and post it to Twitter with the hashtag #myfeettweet. The more people that do this, the more people will realise that there are very few perfect feet out there.

Live with them

You only have one pair of feet, which need to work hard on a daily basis, so make life as easy as possible for them. When it comes to footwear, choose shoes that feel good as well as look good. Katie Owen, founder of luxury wide fit shoe company Sargasso & Grey, says “we like to think of our shoes as spacious rather than wide, and our motto is ‘Shoes That Don’t Squeeze’. After all, what is wrong with giving your feet a little extra space to move? Even if your feet aren’t particularly wide, think about buying a pair of wider fit shoes and put a comfortable insole inside them to help cushion your feet.”

Summer is coming, so get them out as often as you can, free from the constraints of uncomfortable footwear. Toes feel so good when free of constraints!

Look After Them

The people with the best feet are those who have a trusted podiatrist listed in their little black book, alongside their hairdresser, beautician and dentist. You should treat your feet as you would your face: just as you might get a facial, so you should get a ‘Feetcial’!  Whether this is a professional MOT for feet with a podiatrist or simply a DIY foot spa, exfoliation and moisturise, a regular foot care regime will pay huge dividends when it comes to making your feet look and feel beautiful.

Lorraine Jones is chairman of The Society of Podiatrists and Chiropodist and has her own podiatry practice in Chiswick.

Katie Owen is owner and shoe designer of Sargasso and Grey.

Barefoot running

Barefoot running

Build up your barefoot technique slowly to avoid injury

The debate that it’s better to run barefoot than in well fitted running shoes continues to run. As of yet there doesn’t appear to be any rigorous scientific research that shows barefoot running reduces injuries.

If you are considering barefoot running and you will be running on hard surfaces like pavements here are three tips to remember.

  1. Don’t forget that the surfaces we run on now are totally different from the surfaces our predecessors ran on (earth and sand). Try and run on softer surfaces like grass where you can.
  2. Learn the technique for barefoot running properly. It will save you a lot of pain later!
  3. Always wear a shoe – such as minimalist. It’s all too easy to get a nasty puncture wound and infection from road debris.

What do you run in?

Take the weight off your feet!

British feet are getting bigger and wider. There has been an increase in two shoe sizes since 1970.
The increase in shoe size has been linked to increasing weight and height.
Both men and women admit to wearing incorrectly fitting shoes which are too small and narrow, risking foot problems in the short and long term.
British feet are getting longer and wider, but many men and women are risking foot problems by squeezing their feet into shoes which are too small and too narrow, according to new research by The College of Podiatry.
The research suggests this is due to a number of things; lack of understanding about shoe sizes and width fittings available, the growth in online shopping, not having shoes professionally fitted, and knowingly buying the wrong size because of fashion or if the shoes are on sale.
The research, which was commissioned to mark foot health awareness campaign Feet for Life month (June 2014), showed that the average shoe size in the UK has increased by around two sizes since the 1970s. Today the average male wears a size ten compared to a size eight shoe 40 years ago; and the average female wears a size six versus a size four in the seventies.
Over a quarter (26%) of men and 41 per cent of women say their feet have changed size as an adult, with both reporting they have got bigger and wider (48% of men say their feet have got bigger and 61% say they are wider. 35% of women report their feet have got bigger and 68% say they have got wider). They attribute this to putting on weight (41%) and getting older (55%).
Yet both men (34%)  and women (46%) admit to buying shoes that don’t fit ; with people nearly twice as likely to buy shoes too small (44%) than too big (24%). When asked why they have bought shoes that didn’t fit, the top reasons were:
  1. I thought I was buying the correct size but when I tried them on at home / wore them they didn’t feel comfortable (35%)
  2. I liked the shoes and they didn’t have them in my size (27%)
  3. I bought them online and didn’t realise they wouldn’t fit (26%)
  4. They were on sale (19%)
  5. I didn’t have time to try them on in the shops (15%)When asked what challenges they find when they buy footwear, 20 per cent said they struggle to find shoes which are wide enough and 51 per cent find it difficult to find comfortable shoes which they also feel are fashionable.

    The research also suggests that people may not even know what size shoe they should be wearing, with 17 per cent admitting to never having had their feet measured – even as a child – and the majority of other adults not having had their feet measured since they were aged 10-15. A further 62 per cent are not aware that in addition to standard shoe sizes which relate to the length of the shoe, you can also buy shoes in different width fittings.

    With many wearing shoes which don’t fit them it isn’t surprising that 29 per cent of women and 18 per cent of men report suffering from daily or frequent sore, aching feet. The top complaints people suffer with daily or frequently were:

    Men Women
    1. Hard skin (27%) Hard skin (42%)
    2. Sore / aching feet (18%) Sore / aching feet (29%)
    3. Tight calf muscles (16%) Joint place– Bunions (15%) and Blisters (15%)
    4. Joint place– Corns (13%) and Blisters (13%) Tight calf muscles (14%)
    5. Calluses (12%) Calluses (15%)

    Commenting on the findings, podiatrist Lorraine Jones from The College of Podiatry said:

    “Feet are getting bigger because as a nation we are becoming taller and we’re increasing in weight. Increased weight gain places more pressure on the feet and means ligaments and joints need to work harder to maintain the foot’s structure and keep you mobile. Over time if someone is gaining weight the feet splay to try and accommodate the increased pressure, which can cause pain, lead to mobility issues and increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis in the lower limb joints. Whatever your shoe size, the most important thing is to wear a comfortable, well-fitting shoe. More retailers are introducing wider fitting shoe ranges so if you have wide feet try to opt for a shoe that will comfortably accommodate your foot without causing rubbing or blisters. Try not to rush buying shoes, make sure they fit comfortably and try to have them professionally fitted if you can. If your shoes are hurting you then this means they don’t fit properly or you may not be wearing them for the right task. Being comfortable on your feet is key to maintaining mobility and managing a healthy weight so make sure you have the right footwear. If you are trying to lose weight then undertaking exercise with supportive footwear is key.”

    The average man owns nine pairs of shoes and women typically have 17 pairs. Nearly a third (31%) of men and women admit they keep and continue to wear shoes even though they know they don’t fit.

    The College of Podiatry is the academic authority for chiropody and podiatry in the UK, and an independent charity dedicated to feet health research, education and public awareness. It works closely with the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists – the professional body for the UK’s registered chiropodists and podiatrists. In short, they’re the UK’s experts for everything and anything to do with feet.  Podiatry is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and other disorders of the feet.

    The survey was conducted on behalf of The College of Podiatry by One Poll amongst 2,000 UK adults aged 18+. The survey was conducted online between 20-22 May 2014

    The Shoe Fitters Association estimates that the average size shoe for women in the 1970s was a size 4 and a size 8 for men. Official surveys of shoe sizes are not currently carried out in the UK.

    Comfortable, happy feet are key to staying mobile and active; which is essential for good overall health. However research from The College of Podiatry shows that neglect and poor footwear are resulting in a range of foot problems which are causing women discomfort, pain and at worse, mobility problems either in the present or later in life.

    Research amongst 2,000 UK adults showed that half of women put up with uncomfortable shoes for the sake of fashion and a third (36%) of women have worn shoes they knew didn’t fit them because they looked nice. Just 12 per cent of men report to having done the same.

    As a result, 90 per cent of women report having suffered with a foot problem and one in five women say they are embarrassed about their feet.

    The top foot problems suffered by women are blisters (55%), cracked heels (45%), veruccas (28%), corns (24%) and ingrown toenails (20%). More than twice the number of women to men report suffering from corns, cracked heels and bunions. Despite these problems, 19 per cent of women haven’t sought help because they didn’t think their foot complaint was important.

    Advice for healthy, happy feet:“Our feet bear the brunt of our weight and if you don’t support them with the right footwear, in the short term you can experience painful and unsightly: blisters, corns, callouses and general foot pain, and in the long term this could severely affect your mobility. The key is to wear the right shoe for the right job and small changes can make a big difference. If you normally wear high heels in the office, try wearing some trainers for your commute to work and then slip your heels on when you get there. If you love wearing ballet pumps, try to minimize wear for when you will be sitting down a lot during the day rather than out and about pounding the pavements where the shoe will give you little support. Keep flip flops for the beach and opt for a summer sandal with a strap to hold your foot in place for wearing when you’re walking around. If you do experience foot pain, don’t ignore it, seek professional help as there is always something that can be done.”

    Top tips from The College of Podiatry for comfortable footwear:

    • Consider wearing shoes with a strap or lace over the instep rather than slip-ons.  This will help stop your foot sliding forward, a bit like a seatbelt in a car
    • Choose shoes with a toe box that is high enough and wide enough to comfortably fit, either rounded or square shaped, not pointed
    • Footwear should have a firm thick heel to help with shock absorption and a supportive arch to keep the foot in place
    • Vary your shoe type and heel heights from day to day, avoiding wearing either extreme – flat or very high – on a frequent basis. For everyday use, it’s ideal to keep your heel height to 3cm
    • Ensure your shoe accommodates the width of your foot. Many women wear shoes that are too narrow for them. A number of retailers now offer wider fitting shoes so look for those if you find it difficult to get shoes to fit
    • Always wear the right shoe for the job. Not all foot problems can be prevented but a large majority of problems do result or are exacerbated from incorrect or poor footwear. If you are going to be active then wear a low heeled supportive shoe, but heels are fine to don if it’s for a special occasion.