image of a painful foot

Don’t worry, Cyprus hasn’t suddenly been overrun with crocodiles biting people’s feet off. It’s a bit more subtle than that and nothing to do with animals.

Ten years ago I moved to Cyprus from England. One of the main reasons was warmth. I suffer a little with arthritis and the winter months in England were getting me down, the pain in my hands and feet were getting worse each winter. Okay, it wasn’t quite a Siberian winter but it was cold, damp and miserable… and went on for a long time.

Moving to Cyprus meant a reduction in that problem with my hands and feet. However, the move brought about its own problems. One of those problems was what to wear on my feet on a daily basis. I don’t like sandals and nor do I like flip-flops. What I needed was something comfortable and cooling… and along came crocs. Not the type of crocs that gnash your feet, the type that you slip on your feet and that you can wear around the house and outside. In short, crocs were ideal for the long and hot Cyprus summer. Crocs were ideal for this lifestyle. I spend a lot of time at home, in front of the computer, designing and producing all manner of garments, writing, designing websites and general in and out of the house gardening and playing with my two English Springer Spaniels, Harvey and Holly.

Then one day my crocs just up and bit me!

Pain is still an every day occurrence, mainly from a heavy-duty heat press and because Harvey is old and needs help getting onto the sofa and on to my bed in the morning. Neck pain is the main problem, but recently I’ve experienced a lot of pain in my right foot. It started with a toe and has now hit my sole and ankle. At first it was fine and manageable because I ignored it, but it got worse and I am walking with a limp. I put it down to age and a very damp and cold winter. The winter in Cyprus is short, compared to England. But even so it can be very cold and damp for 2-3 months.

I tried rubbing ‘Deep Heat’ on the affected areas thinking this would help, but it didn’t. Then I woke up one day with a pain in my right hip. I was beginning to fear the worst. I had heard of men suffering with pain in their legs and hips which was attributable to prostate cancer. And a recent revelation of a BBC newsreader who is my age and discovered he has prostate cancer, with the similar symptoms to me, urged me to look at my pain more seriously. Checking in with the doctor revealed I had been tested for prostate cancer in May 2017 with negative results. But just to be on the safe side I have another test scheduled. That news was a relief, I have to admit. But if it’s not cancer, then what is the cause of this pain.

It pays to look at your lifestyle and I decided my foot pain if not medical then was due to something I was doing in my life. So what was it I was doing or what was it my body was being made to do that was any different from the last ten years. I’ve always had flat feet, so nothing new there. What am I walking on? Nothing different in the last ten years, except I have been going up and down a lot of stairs lately, viewing property in Cyprus with an eye to buying an apartment. Okay, but that was a few weeks back and the pain was getting worse. But then it occurred to me that the pain was an odd pain. It wasn’t a constant pain. I was limping when I walked but when a rested that leg on a stool as I sat watching TV, the pain lifted. However, being in a sitting position with my legs down gave cause to stabbing pains in my right foot. It briefly occurred to me that it was gout. I’ve had one experience of gout and that was an excruciating pain in my right big-toe that lasted for weeks. This pain, though bad, wasn’t on the same scale.

Yesterday morning I was sat in front of my computer, designing a logo, and it occurred to me I was experiencing three lots of pain. Skin soreness to certain areas, stabbing pain while sitting normally and pain as I walked that was intermittent. Not being one to waste my doctor’s time if I didn’t think it was urgent, I wondered what the root cause was of my pain and perhaps it was caused by a new pair of shoes I bought for my trip to Australia. This shoes were suede type desert-boots. I’ve been wearing them for weeks and they seem very comfortable. But I don’t wear them all the time. But what I did wear a lot were my crocs. What do you get when you cross a croc with a Google? You get answers.

Podiatrists all over the world have stated they see more foot problems from patients who wear crocs than any other type of footwear. The main problem was foot pain caused by people wearing their crocs all day long. The design of the footwear means it has a flexible shank, that’s the bit that goes from toe to heel that should be solid. But the shanks on crocs is flexible and that means long periods of walking with crocs on your feet causes pain because your feet have no support. A quick examination of the back of my crocs revealed my left croc has a pronounced sideways tilt. My crocs are making me walk in an odd way which is causing my foot to protest in the only way it knows how… pain!

It’s not that I walk long distances in my crocs, I don’t. But when I’m at home I’m not just sitting in front of my PC for hours on end, I make myself get up, stretch my legs, make a coffee, play with the dogs, do a bit of gardening and generally have a fairly active day.

So yesterday I wore a pair of trainers all day. The result has been little or no pain in my foot during the night and this morning, though still limping a little, my foot’s a whole lot better.

If it turns out my foot pain dissipates over the next few weeks because I’m not wearing my crocs, then I know what I’m doing with this particular brand of footwear.

image of crocs and a crocodile

 

Tom Kane © 2018

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

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Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

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