I seem to be writing a number of short sharp cynical posts lately and this may or may not be another one of the those. Because of my work, you get a lot of targeted advertising on Facebook and other social media sites based on websites I may have visited or posts that I engaged with. Obviously, a lot of stuff targeted at those with foot problems are going to show up to me. Some of that stuff is really bad and I have to try really hard to bite my tongue and not respond. I do have a habit of trolling flat earthers and pseudoscience peddlers but have leant from experience that if you troll those selling crap products, they just delete your post, so I think better of it.
Lately, I have had a flurry of promotional adverts turn up for these “bunion correctors”. I used to never think much of them. You are supposed to wear them at night and they are supposed to correct the angle of the hallux valgus. My opinion was always that during the day you have the force of the shoes and the force of the biomechanics creating the bunion or hallux valgus is way greater than the force that these bunion splints can provide during the night. That was my somewhat cynical view, so I did not put a lot of faith in them. But, they have been used for over 100 years and something that has been used for that long has to be good … right? You still do see a lot of people asking about them online.
But like any good clinician, you should stick to the evidence. And there is a study showing that they can correct the angle by a few degrees after a months use, so it does look like they may be able to help a bit. I probably should revise my opinion of them.
What I will not be doing is revising my opinion of some of the clowns that try to sell them and their before and after photos. Follow this series of photos that I screen captured of a website trying to sell them:
Its does not take a rocket scientist to notice that the before photo is the left foot and the after photo is the right foot and the shoe on the ground tells us that the photos were taken on the same day. And these photos were being used to tell us how great the bunion correctors were and to sell them. They must be pretty stupid to think people are that blind.
I have never really quite worked out what these are. To me, they are like the “diabetic diets” that you frequently see advertised (obviously there is money in ‘diabetic diets’). What troubles me is that exactly what is a diabetic diet? I don’t think that there is such a thing as a diabetic diet. It’s just a marketing ploy to sell books or some other products. A diabetic diet is just a really good diet that has all the hallmarks of eating healthy. Nothing special about that. Nothing special about it being a diabetic diet. We all should eat healthy.
So what about the socks? A good sock will have features that make them comfortable, that can help absorb perspiration, maybe have some antibacterial feature and not be tight to restrict circulation. Everyone needs those features in socks, not just those with diabetes. It too is a marketing ploy to sell more product.
Obviously those with diabetes do need to perhaps take extra care with what they eat and other aspects of their diets. They are also at increased risk for foot problems and need to take special care of their feet. We all need to eat well and we all need to take care of our feet. To label things like a “diabetic diet” or “diabetic socks” is a marketing ploy.
Awesome picture from the stock photo service that I use, so I have to write something about cracked heels!
Cracked heels hurt, never look very good and can be a portal for entry for an infection, so they need to be taken seriously. I like the tomato analogy to explain them. The skin around the periphery of the heel splits just like the skin of a tomato skin splits when it is squashed.
We see lots of patients with them. I wish more would take them seriously as they are so easy to self manage. Use a foot file or pumice stone regularly and apply a cream regularly. That its. Do that it will not be a problem.
When you travel, of course there are language differences and the differences can be amusing and get confusing for those who are not familiar with them even though they all speak English. One of the funnier ones is the use of the word “thongs” in Australia. Everywhere else in the world that refers to a skimpy underwear. In Australia it means a piece of footwear like flip-flops (USA) or jandals (New Zealand). Easy to see the confusion around that and the jokes that can and do get made about it!
I only mention this today, as I did a session as the wife’s clinic and they sell the Archie’s brand of thongs and we sold a lot today. People love them. A lot of people who are not even patients come in off the street to buy. There is a phyiso not far away who specialises in pregnancy issues and it looks like they are sending all their patients in to buy a pair. Others come in to buy them before heading to Bali for a holiday. Even the receptionist calls them “life changing”.
Why are Archies thongs so popular? They have an arch support built-in. That means those who need foot orthotics can wear them as they will not need to use their orthotics while wearing them. And those that do not need orthotics, just feel the arch support as being something that is so comfortable. You can get them online here.
POSTSCRIPT: I made this video on the Archies MOSI, which is a modification I make to them to help support some feet on some occasions more when it is needed: