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Before you take a pumice stone to your foot calluses just because they're unsightly, you might want to consider the idea that they are actually nature's shoes.
That's one of the messages from a new study suggesting that in certain ways, walking on callused feet can be better for you than the modern luxury of cushioned shoes.
Researchers - Calluses - Foot - Protection - Tactile
Researchers found that calluses offer the foot protection while you're walking around, without compromising tactile sensitivity—or the ability to feel the ground. That's in contrast to cushioned shoes, which provide a thick layer of protection, but do interfere with the sense of connection to the ground.
Meanwhile, although thick-soled shoes do lessen the impact of each heel strike to the ground, they actually deliver more force into the knee joints.
One - People - Conditions - Barefoot - Walking
No one, however, is advising people to forgo shoes—especially if they have medical conditions that make barefoot walking risky.
Study co-author Daniel Lieberman stressed that the study is about understanding a fundamental evolutionary question: How does modern footwear—a recent development in human history—differ from the natural "shoes" that humans wore for thousands of years?
Lieberman - Biology - Harvard - University - People
"I'm not anti-shoe," said Lieberman, who heads human evolutionary biology at Harvard University. "And I'm not telling people to run around barefoot."
But, he added, you might consider taking a kinder view of the lowly callus.
Calluses - Benefits - Lieberman
"Calluses are normal, and they may have some benefits," Lieberman said.
That comes with some big caveats, though: People with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, should neither go barefoot nor let calluses build up, said Dr. Jane Andersen. She's a podiatrist and chair of the communications committee for the American Podiatric Medical Association.
People - Damage - Blood - Circulation - Feet—from
People with nerve damage or poor blood circulation to the feet—from diabetes or other medical conditions—should see a foot doctor regularly and, if needed, have calluses trimmed, Andersen said. Calluses can lead to ulcers in those cases.
People with nerve-damaged...
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