Book Review: “Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief” by Katy Bowman

Katy Bowman is a professional writer and editor who specializes in health and fitness topics. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Utah, where she studied exercise physiology. Her work has appeared in various print media including Women’s Health, Prevention, Wellness, Fitness & Leisure, Shape Magazine and others. She lives with her husband and two children in Salt Lake City.

Book Review: “Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief” by Katy Bowman

By Katy Bowman

I’ve been a foot doctor since 1999, so I’m pretty familiar with what it takes to keep your patients’ feet healthy. But when I read Katie Bowman’s book Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief (WOMAN), my heart sank. My toes were hurting! And not just my own toes — all of them!

What was going on? Why did these women have such bad foot pain?

The answer is simple: they weren’t getting enough sleep. According to Bowman, most women don’t get enough quality sleep during the day, which leads to poor circulation and a host of other problems. So if you’re suffering from chronic foot pain, try getting some shut-eye before calling me for help. And if you’re still having problems, pick up a copy of WOMAN before calling. It’ll give you a head start on fixing your foot pain.

There are five keys to healthy feet: correct posture, good footwear, regular exercise, adequate rest and good nutrition. Let’s take a look at how well you’re doing in each area. For every “yes” answer you gave, give yourself 2 points. For every “no” answer you gave, give yourself 0 points.

Posture: 1) Do you sit with good posture? 2) Do you stand with good posture? 3) Are your shoulders rolled forward most of the day? 4) Do you pick up your feet and walk with a normal stride? 5) Do you hunch over computer and other screens for hours on end? 6) Do you bend over and touch your toes (or come close to it)? 7) Do you lift heavy things on a regular basis? 8) Do you exercise on a regular basis? 9) Do you do any other activity that might be causing you to bend your back and/or neck (such as putting gas in your car)?

Footwear: 1) Are the soles of your feet exposed to the ground most of the day? 2) Do you wear shoes with good arch support? 3) Do you wear shoes with good shock absorption? 4) Are you wearing shoes right now? 5) Have you worn shoes in the last 24 hours? 6) Do you change your socks at least once every 24 hours?

Exercise: 1) Do you get moderate exercise (like walking or hiking) at least three times a week? 2) Do you get vigorous exercise (like running or jumping) at least three times a week? 3) Are you actively trying to strengthen your feet (by doing exercises like toe raises, ankle pumps and heel walks)? 4) Do you participate in sports that require quick moves and sharp turns (like tennis or soccer)? 5) Do you participate in weight-bearing exercises at least three times a week? 6) Do you participate in weight-training at least three times a week?

Rest: 1) Do you sleep at least eight hours every night? 2) Do you nap at least one hour every day? 3) Do you sleep with your head elevated at least five inches when you sleep (with multiple pillows or propping your head up against the wall)? 4) Do you spend most of your time sitting down in a chair, on the floor or on a cushion? 5) Do you spend most of your time lying down to sleep (by going to bed early and not staying up late)? 6) Do you spend most of your time in the same position (for example: seated or lying down)? 7) After standing or walking for a long period, do you find a place to sit or lie down as soon as possible?

Nutrition: 1) Are you eating foods high in potassium (like dried apricots, dates, milk and bananas)? 2) Are you eating foods high in calcium (like cheese and milk)? 3) Are you eating foods that are high in vitamin D (like milk, margarine and cereal)? 4) Are you drinking lots of fluids every day? 5) Are you eating more than five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day? 6) Are you taking supplements for your bones (like vitamin D and calcium)? 7) Do you eat protein at every meal? 8) Do you eat three meals every day?

Correct answers: 0-3 correct: Your feet are probably taking a beating on a daily basis. Start taking better care of them by following the guidelines above! 4-6 correct: You’re doing an okay job of taking care of your feet, but there is definitely room for improvement! Follow the advice above and you’ll notice a positive change. 7-9 correct: You’re really taking good care of your feet! Kudos to you!

You didn’t answer all of the questions correctly. Katie says, “You’ve probably been following advice from well-meaning friends (and web sites!) that really isn’t correct. Here’s some information about your feet and the truth behind some of the recommendations.”

You can’t go barefoot! You’ll get athlete’s foot!

It is true that your feet can be a breeding ground for fungus. But, unless you walk around in the same shoes (and don’t always use a shoe tree) all day, every day, there’s no reason why you can’t go barefoot around the house. If you do it at other times, there are some things you need to watch out for. Check the area around and under chairs, benches and pedals for nails and screws that might injure your feet.

If you have a yard, make sure it’s free of glass. If you have a pool, make sure it’s fenced or that you are careful.

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And remember: just because you’ve gone barefoot in the past without problems, doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t get athlete’s foot (or something else) from going barefoot now. Always be aware of your surroundings and take extra precautions.

You must always wear shoes that fit!

It’s better to wear shoes that are too big than too small. If your toes are pushed against the front of the shoe, or if they’re curled under like a dog’s paw (while your heel is lifted off the ground), you need a larger size shoe. If your feet slosh around in the shoes or if you can feel every lump, rock, and piece of glass, you need a smaller size.

If your shoes are too small, you’ll damage your feet. The most common problems are blisters and calluses. There may also be bruising and broken bones.

You shouldn’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row.

Your shoes get more wear and tear than anything else you own (except maybe your hands, face, and feet!) You need to give them time to air out, dry out, and just rest in general. It’s a good idea to have two pairs of shoes so that you can change them daily.

If your feet start to hurt or you feel some symptoms of foot disease, take your shoes off and give your feet a rest. Better safe than sorry!

You’re going to need another pair of shoes soon. It looks like your current pair has about a month left in it, but you need to buy new ones before then. You just don’t know when you’ll have the time or money!

What is the most important thing to you? Your health or your outfit? Do you want to go barefoot or do you want to wear the shoes that you have?

You need to make this decision now because you can’t put it off any longer.

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You’ve decided that your health is more important than looking good. Good for you! You immediately make an appointment with your doctor and go get a check-up. Everything turns out okay, but you’ve learned that it’s important to take care of yourself.

Everyone tells you how great you’re doing. You’ve managed to save a little money and you’re back on track with all of your work and school.

Easy or not, this goal was important to you and you achieved it!

Now it’s time to move on to another goal.

Sources & references used in this article:

Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet by K Bowman – 2011 – books.google.com

NEW BOOKS ON WOMEN, GENDER, & FEMINISM by G Lesbian, M Genres – 2008 – minds.wisconsin.edu