As a Houston podiatrist, I sometimes feel like a broken record, constantly lecturing women on how much damage high heels can do to their feet. Now, there’s a new tool being used by a team of doctors in the United Kingdom that, once it makes its way over the pond, could help me show women what their shoes do to their feet instead of just telling them.
The new machine is designed to allow physicians to view body parts instantly in 3D; if used on the leg or foot, it could help us see the effects shoe design has on the foot. It’s called the O-Arm X-Ray scanner, now in use in the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, UK, and it is the first X-Ray that can give people a 360 degree, three dimensional view of any body part.
While the British hospital is currently using the £500,000 machine during surgeries, I could certainly envision a time when the technology could be used to help illustrate just how bad for you certain types of shoes really are.
The O-Arm instantly relays live, 3D pictures of the body part being scanned. With a tool like this, my patients could bring in their least comfortable shoes and, after moving through the scanner, we could see how those shoes were contributing to heel pain, Morton’s neuroma, or other foot problems. I’m sure it would be a lot easier to shelve those Jimmy Choos if you could see, live and in real time, the pressure your shoes were putting on the delicate bones of your feet and toes.
Until this technology becomes more readily available (and, ahem, doesn’t cost £500,000), my patients will just have to trust my word: high heels do bad things to your feet. In order to preserve your foot health for years to come, I highly recommend limiting your high heel wearing to special occasions. And, if foot pain becomes a problem, whether it is related to your shoes or not, please make an appointment to see me at Tanglewood Foot Specialists. I’ll help you eliminate your discomfort without any lectures. I promise.