Imagine, if you will, taking off your shoes to find that your feet are swollen, blistered, bloodied, and have lost multiple toenails. This became a daily reality for Cheryl Strayed. The bestselling author recounted the state of her feet in her first-person, true-life memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Not only is Strayed’s story astonishing and incredible, but it’s also an excellent example of the importance of foot care.
Wild chronicles Strayed’s 1,100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, which spans across California, Oregon, and Washington of the United States of America and British Columbia, Canada. This epic journey of self-discovery pushed Strayed’s mental and physical limits.
At age 26, Strayed set out alone on her journey as she sought resolution for her enduring grief and personal challenges. Along her trek in the wilderness, she experienced high peaks, low depths, inclement weather and terrifying animal encounters.
A major highlight and concern throughout Strayed’s expedition is the condition of her feet. Unfortunately, Strayed wore boots that were too small and she suffered greatly for it. With hiking such a great distance, her improperly-fitting boots quickly presented problems.
Strayed’s feet, battered and bloodied by her boots, would only get worse. At one point, she lost her boots and duct-taped sandals to her feet in order to carry on. It’s difficult to imagine how Strayed managed to continue her hike with the condition her feet were in.
You don’t have to trek the Pacific Crest Trail to suffer the foot injuries that Strayed did. Continuously wearing shoes that fit incorrectly can cause anyone’s feet to swell, blister, callous, and lose toenails. According to the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association, 75 percent of Americans will experience foot health problems at some point in their lives.
Women must be particularly careful about foot health problems. The IPMA states that women are four times more likely to experience foot problems than men. In fact, like Strayed did, nine out of 10 women wear shoes that are too small.
Feet are the foundation of the body and essential to everyday life and your overall health. Let’s learn from Strayed’s experience and not tiptoe around the importance of foot health. Heed the warning signs of foot pain, discomfort, and infection and see a podiatrist immediately.
If you’re experiencing similar conditions from hiking or improperly-fitting shoes, call our office at 859-264-1141 or make an online appointment.