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Pre-Carnival Foot Health

It’s Carnival time and it’s all about the liming, feteing and playing mas. Basically we are out of the house and constantly on our feet. I know, because I must confess, Carnival is one of my favourite times of year! We love to “dress up” and look “real nice” and that includes the shoes. Those crazy high heel shoes…let’s not forget the boots. It has become the new sensation. Women everywhere are sporting varied versions, and we aren’t talking about Carnival Monday and Tuesday…every fete! Many not suited for our climate or the shape of our feet, but for the sake of style women are buying them in different colours and wearing them proudly.

For the Feters

While hitting the fetes looking hot is key, being comfortable is more important. Wearing sensible shoes protect you from many problems. Don’t take advantage of your feet, wearing uncomfortable, extremely high heels. Instead of mashing up those soles, take preventative measures. When I think back to days in my time, especially as a teenager, when after the fete your feet are sooo sore, some people take off the shoes for the trek back to car… in pain, but blissfully happy! And you know what … nothing has changed.
Have Happy Feet

Shoes that are comfortable and properly broken in are necessary. Naturally over this very long Carnival season you Carnival babies would be doing a lot of gyming, running to keep fit and be in shape for Monday and Tuesday, jumping up in fetes and on the road/stage for masqueraders, and walking around the savannah (Queen’s Park, Eddie Hart and Aranguez to name a few) and up Chancellor. And let’s not talk about the “mile and a half” we walk and “palance” on Carnival day.

Don’t attend all these all-inclusive fetes in high heels and certainly if you must, ensure they aren’t the 3 ½ + inch heels. The entertainers sometimes do but pay attention to two things, firstly they perform for short periods at a time and I’m almost certain that they change into more comfortable shoes between sets and fetes. Secondly, they interchange footwear on different nights, therefore giving their feet a chance to breathe and relax a bit from the too high heels.

If you are having your first time experience as a masquerader, note that your footwear is the most important part of the kit. Yes getting glammed up is critical also, but getting properly fitting shoes should be a priority. They need to have a comfortable fit…NOT too tight or a size larger (we have all done it for Carnival) snug is key! Flip flops or sandals are not cool…whether you are a first timer or a seasoned masquerader like me. You will be dancing/prancing/chipping down the road for two days straight and these types of footwear will give absolutely no support nor coverage.

Yes insoles or Arch Supports are essential. Even for the seasoned masquerader, it is always good to have additional cushioned support…your feet would surely be happier for it. They help with the back, ball of the feet issues, heel problems, and even prevention of corns and calluses among other ailments. The flip flops and sandals are open and exposed to excessive dirt (bacteria), and severe trauma could be caused when stamped on (which is inevitable while playing mas).

Prevention Tips

Lost/ingrown toenails, blisters, corns & calluses, swollen/painful ankles, fungus, and sore muscles are the order of the day for some masqueraders, both first timers and seasoned ones. It’s a true, true saying that “you can’t play mas and fraid powder.” So therefore it all comes with the merriment. You can, however, try to prevent some of these things from happening if you follow these tips:
• Lose the desired amount of pounds to take the added strain off the feet.
• Pad areas that are prone to damage.
• Don’t expose feet to the ground as bacteria could be contracted.
• Purchase all glam gear (make up, accessories, shoes/boots and Monday wear) in advance to avoid the last minute rush…excessive pressure to the feet.

Home Care

Rejuvenation is important; in fact it’s an excellent way of getting the feet back, so try the following as needed:

• Use a combination of a foot soak or Epsom salts and a few drops of peppermint oil to soak the feet, for approximately 15 minutes in warm water.
• Use a foot cream to moisture/massage the feet.
• If swelling/poor circulation is occurring, elevate and apply heat or ice.
Home care tips could also be supplemented with professionally done pedicures and massages.

Professional Pedicures and Massages

The importance of these cannot be overemphasised. Both contribute to relaxation, much needed at this point.

The Pedicure – will also take care of and ensure nails are properly cut, especially if you’re prone to ingrown toe nails. If you tend to have quick callous build-up, at least you would be in a better place. Any fungal infection, or sweaty, smelly feet? A therapeutic pedicure would be best, and advice would be given on how to proceed to keep it under control.

The Massage – varies according to your needs. Do you have circulatory problems, just plain tired feet, or back issues? An experienced therapist would be able to advise what is best suited to take you through.

As usual, I cannot complete this column without a reminder to my diabetic readers. You NEED to carefully consider your situation. While the fun is great, it really won’t be worth it if you throw caution to the wind and the results you may have to live with after!
All are invited to check us for general maintenance to help keep you in shape. With the season in mind, we have some reasonable pre-Carnival specials running, and we’ll be more than happy to indulge you. So, enjoy yourselves, but let good sense prevail.

Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!

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