SA Men “Push and Bhobhoza” their feet

Men usually escape the painful feet we associate with poorly-fitting shoes. Surely it’s women who are wearing high heels and sharply pointed toes. They were doing it when I was at varsity. However I was amused by an article by Thando Pato entitled ” Men in sharp shoes miss the point” in the Sunday Times Lifestyle section on May 18th.

I checked with my associate Tshidi and sure enough “P&Bs” as they are known, are a real fashion item. Especially amongst black men. Ms Phato expresses her concerns about the growing number of South African men in all situations wearing shoes “so long and pointy that they look like spears.” (The word ‘bhoboza’ means to pierce in Zulu).

She also expresses a concern that I often use as a humour line in foot health talks – that shoes for women are designed by “cruel European men who claim to love women”. The message from Thando Pato is a great – not only are these shoes sold in garish colours, apparently white is cool – but she is also “traumatised” by the damage inflicted on the wearer’s feet.

She uses a great expression to describe corns, bunions, calluses and a host of other foot deformities that we traditionally associate with women; “Hammer Time”. I think this should become part of podiatry terminology. Her description of the pain experienced by one guy she sees is really funny. Thando Pato you must have been a podiatrist in a former life!

If you want to study the effect of high heels on how you walk, get along to the Victory Theatre in Johannesburg and take in The Rocky Horror Show. We went last night and it was a great show. Obviously I went for the anatomical study!

By the way the references for Angiosomes are: Taylor 1991. Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.102.599. There is a fully illustrated article in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 2006.117. 261-293.

I know these are not 100% accurate but that’s what I wrote down at the congress, so put on your best Google and see what you get!


Andrew has taught at the University as well as providing podiatry services in South Africa since 1977. Twice chair of the Podiatry Association of South Africa and a commentator on care of your feet on both radio and television he now works in private practice in Cape Town and Hout Bay.

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