Walking on sunshine – why visiting the chiropodist is a very good idea

Once you’re over 40, you need to start taking care of your feet.

Hello girls – you may have noticed that I’ve been away lately. The reason is that we were switching this blog from WordPress to ModX. Don’t ask me why, but it’s meant to make things better.

Anyway, I’m back, and this week I’m feeling much happier for having paid a visit to the chiropodist – something I haven’t done since I was 11 (when it didn’t go well at all…).

I had never had a pedicure before either. I don’t mean one of those poncey beauty-parlour things. This was the real deal, with a man armed with the world’s sharpest scalpel. 

The reason I had to go is that for a year or so now, I’ve been getting some pain in the sole of my left foot when I walk, a bit like there’s a stone in my shoe. There’s hard skin building up on both feet, too – one of those unglamorous things they never tell you about that get worse as you get older. Once you hit 40, the skin on your feet thins out generally, you can’t wear heels so easily, and you have to start taking better care of your feet. Your toenails get yellower and thicker too, and you’re more prone to fungal infections. All very delightful.

I have been putting this off for ages, but after a trip to a rose garden near Saumur a couple of weeks ago, where I walked for over three hours, I was a near cripple. A quick search on the interwebs found that these patches of rock-hard skin, immune to my daily and fervent scrubbing with a pumice, are called calluses. Oh goody I thought. Isn’t that what carpenters get on their thumbs? If they were on the tops of my feet, apparently, they’d be the even more glamorous corns, which takes me back to my mum and her best mate Sylv paying their monthly visit to trim each other’s corns, feet propped up on stools, laughing their heads off as they wielded their scalpels. Do women still do this? Not any that I know, thank God.

I was a tad miffed to find myself with this problem, as I have always paid the earth for good shoes – leather, leather linings, heels not too extreme. In summer, I mostly wear Footgloves, with low heels. My reward, I felt, should be decent feet in middle age.

Anyway, the doc sent me next door to the charmingly named ‘podologue’, Monsieur Robert. He turned out to be a nice man from Paris, who fitted me in the next day, installed me in what looked like a birthing chair and began to arrange a large tray of scary-looking instruments. "Don’t worry…" he said, sterilising his equipment. Mmn. 

In fact, it was sheer bliss. 45 minutes later, my feet felt like a new set still in their wrapper. Pink, soft, glowing like a baby’s, with tiny little soft pink nails. I can’t remember when they’ve EVER felt like this, and the pain has completely gone. He even polished my feet all over with what looked like some sort of dental instrument before giving me a foot massage with essential oils. Bliss.

Monsieur Robert also explained that the problem I have is due to genetics. My big toe tendon is too short, which pulls up the ball of the toe, leaving the centre of my sole to take too much of my weight, which then reacts by producing calluses. It also makes my toenails rub against the tops of my shoes, causing the nails to become hard and yellow in self-defence. From now on, therefore, for the rest of my life, I must come in once or twice a year to get my feet treated. Otherwise, I suppose, they will end up like bear’s claws.

Although it’s not remboursable, unlike most medical treatment here, it was well worth it at 23 euros. In fact I can hardly wait for January to come around so that I can go again… 


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