Before you apply pumice to your callous feet just because they are unsightly, you should consider whether they are actually nature's shoes.
This is one of the messages in a new study that says walking on corneal feet is, in a sense, better for you than the modern luxury of padded shoes.
Researchers found that the cornea provides foot protection while walking around without compromising tactile sensitivity ̵
While thick-soled shoes reduce the impact of each heel strike on the ground, they interfere with the connection to the ground. In effect, bring more force into the knee joints.
However, no one advises people to abstain from shoes, especially if they suffer from conditions that endanger barefoot walking.
Study author Daniel Lieberman emphasized that this is the case of understanding a fundamental evolutionary question: how does modern footwear, a recent development in human history, differ from the natural "shoes" that people wore for thousands of years?
"I'm not an anti-shoe," said Lieberman. He manages human evolutionary biology at Harvard University. "And I'm not telling people to walk around barefoot."
But, he added, you might consider looking at the lower callus more kindly.
"Calluses are normal and they can have some advantages . " Lieberman said.
However, this does have some major limitations: people with certain conditions, such as diabetes, should not walk barefoot or build calluses, Dr. Jane Andersen. She is a Podiatrist and Chair of the Communication Committee of the American Podiatric Medical Association.
People with nerve damage or circulatory disorders on their feet – due to diabetes or other medical conditions – should consult a podiatrist on a regular basis and must do so if needed Curbing callosity, Andersen said. Calluses can lead to ulcers in these cases.
People with nerve-damaged feet also need to wear shoes, she said. This diminished sensation means that they may not notice any cuts or other injuries they would suffer from barefoot walking.
Andersen found that people of the past barefooted on hot asphalt and other modern surfaces.
The findings, published on June 26 in the journal Nature are based on just over 100 adults from Kenya and the United States. Both groups included people who said they were more barefoot and people who were wearing shoes every day.
As expected, the barefoot lot had thicker, harder corneas. Nevertheless, they showed no lack of sensitivity in the soles of the feet. In contrast, thick-soled shoes compromise tactile sensitivity while walking, the researchers said.
It is not clear what impact this might have. However, Lieberman's team points out that your perception of a tread is cloudy and can affect gait and balance. The question then arises as to whether thickly padded shoes can contribute to falls of people at risk.
Lieberman emphasized, however, that this is only a question. He said controlled studies would be needed to find the answer – for example, a study comparing padded footwear with "minimal footwear" in older adults.
Minimal footwear refers to shoes with thinner, harder soles, such as moccasins or sandals. According to Lieberman, they tend to approach thick calluses compared to padded soles.
In other tests, the researchers found that padded shoes reduce the impact of the heel on the ground at every step compared to walking barefoot or thin-soled shoes. Thick calluses did not have this effect.
But padded shoes sent more power into the joints with each step.
"The strain is basically being transferred to your knees," said Lieberman.
Again the consequences of that, if any, are unknown. However, one question, says Lieberman, is whether modern footwear can contribute to knee arthritis.
According to Andersen, this is an interesting question. However, it would be difficult to examine how shoe selection could affect the risk of arthrosis for decades to come.
"People generally wear all kinds of different shoes," she said. "There are many other factors that could influence the risk of arthritis."
In addition, many people find minimalistic shoes uncomfortable. "Even wearing them for 30 years will reduce your risk of knee arthritis, which is 30 years you feel uncomfortable," she said.
Andersen said that if they do not cause any problems and you are well, they can probably be left alone.
A guide to handling chickens and calluses
Nicholas B. Holowka et al. The thickness of the foot callus does not affect the protection of tactile sensitivity when walking, Nature (2019). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-019-1345-6
Kristiaan D & # 39; Août. Walking on your sensitive sole, Nature (2019). DOI: 10.1038 / d41586-019-01953-6
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