By Robert Bicknell

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February 26, 2006

Foot Pain is a pain in the ass

Having arthritis in my feet, I am constantly in pain to some degree or another, especially on golf courses with lots of hills. I view 18-holes from the back tees at Chi Linh Star in the same way a starving dog looks at peanut butter.

It’s too tempting to ignore, but I know I’ll regret it later.

Through the years, I subjected my body to a lot of physical abuse. Golf, ice hockey, baseball, football (Americans read: soccer), skiing and a variety of other sports which specialise in causing maximum damage to the human body – especially the feet - when things go wrong.

Having a fast temper doesn’t help either. Ever been stupid enough to kick a door in frustration after bumping into it? I do it a lot. Yes, I am stupid, just ask my wife.

Friends always want to go for foot massage. Sorry, but just thinking about some well-meaning girl applying pressure to my feet is enough to make me eat Ibuprophen. Sure, I know foot massage has therapeutic benefits, but without heavy sedation, I’ll pass.

So, I was quite interested in a new study which claims that socks made from 100 percent cotton are the worst when it comes to causing nagging blisters.

Biological engineering students at the University of Missouri-Columbia tested 10 popular brands of athletic socks and separated the good from the bad with a device that measured moisture and friction, which causes blisters.

All-cotton socks are most likely to cause blisters on sweaty feet, according to research data, while nylon socks performed the best. Socks that were a cotton-synthetic blend scored somewhere between the two and the findings showed that the sock's material matters most, not brand or price.

You can bet that I’m gonna show up at the Vietnam Open in Phan Thiet next June with a suitcase full of cotton-synthetic blend socks.

Diseases, disorders and disabilities of the foot or ankle affect the quality of life and mobility of millions of Americans. However, the general public and even many physicians are unaware of the important relationship between foot health and overall health and well-being. Studies show that symptoms of many ailments show up in the feet before other places in the body.

With this in mind, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) would like to share a few tips to help keep feet healthy.

1. Don't ignore foot pain—it's not normal. If the pain persists, see a podiatric physician.

2. Inspect your feet regularly. Pay attention to changes in colour and temperature of your feet. Look for thick or discoloured nails (a sign of developing fungus), and check for cracks or cuts in the skin. Peeling or scaling on the soles of feet could indicate athlete's foot. Any growth on the foot is not considered normal.

Wash your feet regularly, especially between the toes, and be sure to dry them completely.

4. Trim toenails straight across, but not too short. Be careful not to cut nails in corners or on the sides; it can lead to ingrown toenails. Persons with diabetes, poor circulation, or heart problems should not treat their own feet because they are more prone to infection.

5. Make sure that your shoes fit properly. Purchase new shoes later in the day when feet tend to be at their largest and replace worn out shoes as soon as possible.

6. Select and wear the right shoe for the activity that you are engaged in (i.e., running shoes for running).

7. Alternate shoes—don't wear the same pair of shoes every day.

8. Avoid walking barefooted—your feet will be more prone to injury and infection. At the beach or when wearing sandals, always use sun block on your feet just as on the rest of your body.

9. Be cautious when using home remedies for foot ailments; self-treatment can often turn a minor problem into a major one.

10. If you are a person with diabetes, it is vital that you see a podiatric physician at least once a year for a check-up.


If you follow these simple tips the only pain you endure on the golf course will come from missed putts or driving the ball into the lake. Also, try to avoid dropping bowling balls on your feet...

Trust me on this.




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