The feet and ankles are the foundation of the kinetic chain of interconnected parts that is a person. So, whether we have a foot misalignment or a medical condition, we need to give them plenty of support, Emma Clegg discovers at FootBalance
I worry about my feet. I have had Type 1 diabetes for over 40 years and have peripheral neuropathy (loss of sensation), caused by the reduction in the blood supply to the feet linked to my diabetes. I also have rheumatoid arthritis which has resulted in a reduction of muscle tone, especially in my toes. Diabetic foot care guidelines recommend inspecting your feet daily, using lukewarm and not hot water for bathing and moisturising regularly. I do all these things. But is there anything more I can do to give my feet the very best support as they continue to do their daily job?
Katie, my podiatrist at FootBalance, explained, as she gave me a diabetic foot assessment, that a good insole can make a world of difference, not just to feet affected by medical conditions such as diabetes or plantar fascilitis, but for any feet that aren’t supporting the alignment of your body adequately. Katie told me that she has flat arches. She has been wearing custom-made insoles from FootBalance for eight months and in that time her arch has heightened significantly, making her feet support her body more effectively – so much so that she’s just had another pair of insoles made.
Over 75% of the population suffers from some sort of foot misalignment, such as overpronation (when the arches of the foot roll inwards) or excessive supination (when the foot rolls outwards). Footbalance, a Finnish company founded in 2003, offer insoles developed by medical professionals in collaboration with doctors, physiotherapists, podiatrists and professional athletes. They provide natural foot support and alignment, enhanced performance, personalised comfort and better foot health. The process involves a free foot analysis, where the arches are assessed and a clear visual is provided of where the pressure is being put on the feet. Then a custom-made insole is moulded, taking just 10 minutes.
There are three different insoles, which range from £45 to £135: leather insoles for leather shoes or shoes that taper off; fabric insoles for leisure shoes; and medical insoles where the plate is more rigid, suiting those with foot problems. You can get them at FootBalance for use with existing shoes, or buy suitable shoes in the shop. These include brands such as Hotter, Ecco and Softinos, all chosen for their good-for-health designs.
The stand-on technology platform, called a podoscope, where my feet were assessed projects an image of your feet underneath the surface, highlighting the main pressure points. Katie then moulded my medical insoles on a moulding form placed on the platform. It was all delightfully quick. I am – my analysis report received later that day by email, told me – an overpronator with a low arch. It also told me that the body is a kinetic chain of interconnected parts and the feet and ankles form the foundation of the chain. FootBalance can strengthen your foundation.
FootBalance is offering an exclusive promotion to readers of The Bath Magazine with a 50% discount on a podiatry or chiropodist treatment for the first 500 bookings. Quote code POD50 when booking.
FootBalance, 20 Green Street, Bath; 01225 333545; footbalanceuk.com
Main image by Max McClure