Credit: Contributed

When I was a kid, you would wear a pair of shoes until the soles were so thin that even when you stepped on a stone, you would likely feel the pain. When finally, the thinnest of the sole wore into a hole, you would cover the hole with cardboard or a piece of linoleum. On the other hand, if the heel of the shoe became uneven from wear, which was known as a run-over heel, you would consider going to the shoemaker to get a reconditioned shoe, commonly known as heels and soles. In my neighborhood, you could always find a shoemaker to repair your worn-out shoes while you waited. In other words, repairing a pair of shoes sometimes became an emergency because they were the only pair you had. The shoemaker was a craftsman and did his work with pride. They would even be shined after the repair.

To earn some extra money, I would participate by shining shoes. This activity was known as “shining.” I had a hand-built wooden box that contained my brushes, shoe polish and a well-worn soft rag that had been taken from a sleeve of one of my mom’s worn-out dresses. This box served as my shoe stand with an iron prop attached to stabilize my client’s foot. The shine, I can tell you, was worth more than the nickel or maybe a dime I received. I understand that today, a shine is now $2.50 at a minimum, if you can find anyone available. The way the economy is going today, many professionals might find it a financial advantage to shine shoes. I made so much money on a Saturday that my father thought I was in competition with him in bringing home the bacon. At the end of the day, I not only had sore knees but also had hands that were hardened with black and brown polish. Hey, I was independent.

Have you noticed the number of shoe stores present today in malls adorned with all kinds of sneakers and shoes? I can’t imagine how women walk with those very high heels, and God help them if they must run to catch a bus or train. These stilted shoes are causing havoc on the feet, knees and hips. Recent studies have shown that this kind of shoe will lead to osteoarthritis of the ankle, knee and hip.

At a meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, it was revealed that a thin-soled flat shoe is healthier for the foot in preventing osteoarthritis of the knees and hips. I guess that is why the Native Americans, who wore moccasins, were less likely to experience osteoarthritis. It has been suggested that one should wear flexible shoes, which provide the greatest degree of benefit to your joints. It was shown that this type of shoe produces less stress, particularly on the knees. The wearing of clogs and flip-flops reduces the loading pressure on the knees, thus preventing excessive wear and tear on these joints.

Shoe manufacturers are now reconsidering the type of shoe and sneaker that should be worn to prevent future knee and hip problems. Even those thick-soled, expensive sneakers may not be the best footwear to prevent future joint problems.

Recently, a marathon runner ran his race with a very thin-soled running shoe and did not experience the pains in his joints that have accompanied other runners wearing more conventional shoes.

Remember, what you wear on your feet will determine how much money you will spend on the services of a rheumatologist or orthopedist and on medications for pain in the future. Finally, ladies, your legs may look more attractive in those high, stilted shoes, but you may ultimately experience the blues in your joints from wearing those shoes!

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