Your health begins with your feet, which is especially true for Cuenca’s expat walkers

Jun 24, 2016 | 14 comments

By Susan Burke March

We take our feet for granted. They’re always secondary when we’re considering what to wear. We buy shoes to go with the suit or dress, instead of the other way around. It’s always “from your head to your toes”, when really, without our feet, we’re not going nowhere.

When your feet hurt, there’s nothing to be done than to put them up…or into a bucket of warm water and Epsom salts. But a soak is only a temporary fix — slip on those same ‘ol heels, and you’re aching all over again.
Your feet are the most complicated part of your body.  Twenty-five percent of all bones are foot bones — in total, feet contain more than 50 unique and separate bones. Plus, there are 60 joints and 200 muscles, tendons, and ligaments, all working in tandem to support your height and weight.  And excess weight contributes to sore feet — connective tissue stretches out and natural fat pads compress – the leg, hips, and back muscles must work extra hard to support excess weight. People who lose a significant amount of weight will often also lose a shoe size.salud-pie

Poor circulation — commonly caused by heart problems and/or diabetes — can also lead to foot problems. Reduced blood flow can lead to a buildup of plaque in the feet and lower legs. Poor circulation is the cause of delayed wound healing and can lead to gangrene — type 2 diabetes is the number one cause of non-traumatic foot and leg amputation. People with poorly controlled diabetes may suffer nerve damage, and incur wounds that, because of the nerve damage, may go undetected (it’s critical for people with type 2 diabetes to regularly inspect their feet, read more here) .

Are you a slave to fashion?  I was.  It’s one of my biggest regrets.  I sure looked good…in my own mind.  Yes, high heels may make your legs look longer, and slimmer…but, boy…they do a number on your feet.  Did you know that high heels are significant contributors to not only foot pain and bunions, but to back pain, knee pain, and more?  According to, daily high heel use can lead to changes in your anatomy, putting undue stress on the back and knees as the weight shifts forward.  Calf muscles can shorten, tendons thicken, with the lumbar region of the back the first to suffer.

But flats or flip-flops can be equally bad. reports  that plantar fasciitis (one of the most common causes of chronic foot pain) is a common result of walking barefoot or in flimsy shoes without sufficient arch support. As reported in, the plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.  Most people will recover with conservative treatments in a few months, including alleviating the pain and inflammation with over the counter medications, physical therapy, and custom-made orthotics.

Orthotics Can Help

What’s an orthotic?  Basically, they are devices that can be inserted into the shoe to support and relieve the foot.  There are all types…you may be familiar with premade shoe inserts sold in the pharmacy or shoe store — some made with cork, some with foam, others are gel-type inserts.s-l300

Most are inexpensive, and some may be trimmed to fit.  But, knowing that each foot is different – a person’s right foot is always different from the left —an off-the-shelf insert, while providing some cushioning, won’t modify the foot dynamic, and as with many treatments, might address the symptoms of the problem, but not the problem itself. Since every foot is different, each problem has a potential different solution.

However, custom-made orthotics may be helpful for correcting how someone walks.  Knee and hip and back pain often result from over pronation, or the rolling in of the foot.  Customized orthotics modify the distribution of force through the foot and ankle and address how the force is distributed through the knee.  They also can cushion the foot, and reduce force. In this way, customized orthotics may also be preventative.

Orthotics should not be a one-size-fits-all: the material chosen is a very significant factor in the success of the treatment.  Soft orthotics are best when cushioning is required; semi-rigid orthotics provide stability and some shock absorption, and rigid orthotics provide maximal support and stability

Healthy Feet at Salud Pie, by Casa Ortopédica

Salud Pie has been serving Cuenca for orthopedic and rehabilitative equipment for more than 30 years.  With two locations, one on the ground-floor of the Hospital San Juan de Dios, Avenida Manuel J. Calle y Avenida Paucarbamba, and their El Centro location at Bolivar 390 y Vargas Machuca, the experts at Salud Pie are dedicated to helping you live better.chl salud pie logo

Salud Pie are exclusive providers in Cuenca of custom-made orthotics for children and adults using NF Medica’s technology to offer greater customization and to produce orthotics crafted for your feet.

Salud Pie’s specialists perform a computer scan of each foot, using a Plantoescaner® (planto digital escanometria) which, with the proprietary software Software Medic @ provides accurate measurements and three-dimensional images and details of each individual’s foot.  The software uses various criteria including size of the foot, arch measurement, foot width, density pressure, and type of activity to recommend the appropriate orthotic material for that individual.  Salud Pie then manufactures the orthotics and assures a proper fit when the patient returns to pick them up.  A pair of custom-made orthotics cost about $40, and can be had in about two working days.

Besides orthotics customized to your unique needs, Salud Pie works with local orthopedic doctors and surgeons, fitting patients for knee, wrist, shoulder and finger rehabilitative equipment, including braces, walkers, and wheel chairs following surgery.

Salud Pie is also the source for the best-in-brand athletic and rehabilitative joint compression socks (for feet, ankles, calves, and arms), massage balls, bunion cushions, toe separators, and more.  Salud Pie has relationships with major distributors throughout Latin America and if there’s a special item that you need, they can order it for you.

Salud Pie provides products and services for children, athletes, and seniors.  If you have foot pain, customized orthotics may help, so invest in the best.  Drop by for a consult, and they will be happy to demonstrate their technology.

Salud Pie by Casa Ortopédica

Two Locations:

  1. Hospital San Juan de Dios, Avenida Manuel J. Calle y Avenida Paucarbamba | 099-466-0686

Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM -12:30 Noon — 3:00-7:00 PM
Saturday: 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

  1. El Centro location at Bolivar 390 y Vargas Machuca | 284-7306

Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM -1:00 PM — 2:30-6:30 PM Saturday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM


Book your appointment:

Call us 099 46 60 686
Send us a Facebook message or email to


American Diabetes Association: Foot Care.

Spinal Health Institute of Florida Hospital Medical Group: How High Heels Affect Your Body.


Susan Burke March

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