For many, the idea of sanitising shoes may seem extreme at first, but a little thought is all it takes to realise that there probably are some nasty germs and fungal spores lurking in there. Those who have suffered the discomfort of athlete’s foot or severe nail fungus infections will be aware that wearing certain footwear can cause another flare-up. No wonder, since the fungal spores are lying in wait inside the shoes themselves.
Then, there is the knotty problem of foot odour. It all begins with sweat. If someone isn’t regularly sanitising shoes, certain bacteria colonise the sweaty shoes, which gives off a nasty odour that’s far worse than normal sweat could ever be. Letting shoes “rest” between wearings helps, but many don’t realise the benefit of actually sanitising shoes, killing the bacteria that cause the nasty smells and infections.
Sanitising shoes is important as athlete’s foot and nail fungus are the likeliest pathogens to hide in your footwear. In some instances, these infections aren’t particularly severe – merely uncomfortable and, in the case of nail fungus, unsightly. But for diabetics, foot infections are almost always severe and can lead to foot ulcers and bacterial infections that are hard to clear up.
That’s why Sydney podiatrist, Mark Lin, subscribes to the idea of sanitising shoes between wearings, and the process is far simpler than it might sound.
SteriShoe Recommended by Podiatrist
“Sanitising shoes with SteriShoe is very simple,” explains Mr Lin, Principal Sports Podiatrist and Director for The Footwork Clinic, a podiatry practice with offices in the Sydney CBD and Chatswood. “The device fits inside shoes and gives off ultraviolet light that kills fungal spores and other pathogens very effectively.”
The Footwork Clinic started using the SteriShoe device to help its onychomycosis (toenail fungus) patients. Lin explains what led him to recommend sanitising shoes as part of his treatment programs: “Laser therapy usually works very well on toenail fungus. The light from the laser penetrates the nail, killing the fungal growth, but the problem will keep recurring if patients continue to expose their toenails to an environment that’s loaded with fungal spores. Take away the source of reinfection, and there’s a far better chance to effect a permanent cure.”
The Footwork Clinic sells the patented device to those wishing to sanitise their shoes at home, but Lin says that this is only done as a service. “The Footwork Clinic is focused on footcare and on effecting cures for foot-related problems. Therapists aren’t salespeople, and they will never push people into buying the device. Instead, shoe sanitising services are offered. Patients need only leave their footwear at the Clinic, and its staff does the rest. However, many people prefer the convenience of sanitising shoes themselves, and since it’s an easy process that is safe and doesn’t require any special knowledge or skills, there is the option of purchasing the device,” he explains.
The Aim: Long-Term Cures for Athlete’s Foot and Toenail Fungus
Perhaps the most telling testament to the SteriShoe is the story of its inventor. “Allan Ullman wasn’t a doctor or a podiatrist,” says Lin. “He was a man who suffered from recurring nail infections. When he realised that fungal spores lying dormant in his shoes were the source of reinfection, he put his ingenuity to work to solve the problem.”
Scientific testing would later prove that Ullman’s invention worked, killing 99.9 percent of the pathogens commonly found in footwear. “It’s a very simple solution based on accepted knowledge. Killing germs with ultraviolet light isn’t new. Ullman merely produced a design that allows people to put ultraviolet lights into their shoes so that they don’t continuously reinfect themselves. Reducing odour is a bonus that most people are happy to have,” says Lin.
For the Footwork Clinic and its patients, the news is good. “Long -term cures are the high-road in terms of solutions,” says Lin, “and the clinic is achieving that by combining laser therapy with sanitising shoes.”
The Footwork Clinic, situated in Chatswood on Sydney’s North Shore and Sydney CBD, is there to help should you have an injury or condition that you think would benefit from heat or ice treatment. They offer advanced manual therapies and a holistic and corrective care approach, with a proven track record of success in resolving acute and chronic conditions, and they will gladly offer advice to get you on the road to recovery as soon as possible.
For further information, visit the The Footwork Clinic – Leading Sports, Podiatry, Foot And Lower Limb Corrective Services to book online, or call Mark Lin or his friendly team on +61 2 9131 6891.
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The information contained in this guide is provided in good faith and is not intended to be nor is it to be used as a substitute for any sort of professional, medical or podiatric advice. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a podiatrist. Any users should always seek the advice of their podiatrist, or other qualified healthcare providers before commencing any treatment.
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