Monthly Archives: August 2007

Do podiatrists like Crocs?

Some do, some don’t.


“They should not be worn by people with diabetes” says a colleague in Cape Town.

On the other hand, a British podiatrist, writing in Podiatry Now, thinks they have great therapeutic potential and presents a case history as evidence. He suggests that they be researched by the podiatry profession.

Some UK websites are full of therapeutic ‘evidence’ and testimonials.


Sports Podiatry and Football Injuries-an end in sight?

What would podiatrists who treat foot injuries say about a football boot that will encourage players to consider injury protection as much as performance when choosing footwear? I found the following information in the July 2007 issue of the Brighton Graduate, the magazine of the University of Brighton Graduates Association.

The prototype boot, called the RF5, has spawned a new buzzword – ‘safe performance’. Designer Jonathan Farr at the University of Brighton says the aim of creating such a boot was "to provide protection of the foot and lower limbs alongside the feeling, efficiency and range of motion required to achieve maximum performance." According to Jonathan, "footwear in sports serves three major functions.

  1. provide adequate and effective adhesion between the feet and the playing surface
  2. protect the feet
  3. permit normal movement."

He believes that these functions have yet to be perfected in sports footwear as the interaction of the legs, feet, footwear and ground is still to be fully understood.

The design of the RF5was influenced by research into the causes of injury (etiology), measurements of body size and proportions (anthropometrics), and structure and function (biomechanics). In addition user-centred aspects, emotional elements and boot design were included.

The RF5 boasts some impressive features. An outsole that dissipates pressure and reduces unwanted foot movement; a stud pattern that spreads pressure and reduces foot fixation; a heel cup that helps prevent ankle and knee injury and contoured insoles to give arch support, help postural position and joint alignment.

The only illustrations are clearly computer aided design, so it remains to be seen whether the prototype and concept can be developed cost-effectively into production and then scientifically researched to prove that these design features really do prevent injury. Certainly it appears that some of the features have a therapeutic potential.

Unfortunately, RF5 may ultimately only be suitable for players on World Cup 2010 on your XBox! I hope not.

Good News on the Diabetic Foot

The Diabetic Foot Symposium at the VASSA Congress yesterday was a great success. It marked the launch of DFWG, the Diabetic Foot Working Group.

This is a voluntary association which will serve as the overall representative body to promote awareness and optimal management of people with diabetic foot problems in South Africa. Its objectives include the prevention of amputation, promoting academic standards and the establishment of relationships amongst role players.

I have applied to join this group and I hope that it will be instrumental in developing a fully multidisciplinary  approach to the diabetic foot. The big challenge is to prevent some of the awful foot complications associated with diabetes in South Africa.

Also at the congress, Dr. Slabbert & Dr. Allard presented some data on a Lower Limb Amputation Survey in a South African Regional Hospital, which showed that, in their hospital, 74% of patients losing a leg for vasculopathy (disease of the blood vessels) are diabetic. (This by the way is in the first 6 months of 2007!!)

Through our practice we have set up a ‘virtual’ multidisciplinary diabetic foot clinic, where  as the podiatrist I can refer patients to a vascular surgeon, physician, opthalmologist, dietician and diabetes nurse educator. I say ‘virtual’ because although we are not all in the same place at the same time, we have quick access to each as required.

They said that "an intensive diabetic foot programme is necessary to decrease the amount of amputations performed in South Africa.

A Word On…. Your Feet

Don’t miss Talk Radio 702 on Tuesday, 7 August at 7pm when I will be joining Prof Harry in this week’s "A Word on..Medical Matters" when we will be talking about feet.    How to look after them and what to do when things go wrong with them – as well as answering listeners questions about their specific foot problems.

Check the programming at