Best Books on Foot Health Reviewed
While the internet is a vast source of knowledge, we can’t always rely on it. The information stored there is patchy, inconsistent, and not always backed by science. This is why we have put together this guide, to present you with the top ten books on foot health currently on the market. You will find everything you need to know from healing soaks to relaxing massages to cures for the most common of ailments by browsing through these, and we hope they will help you the same way they have helped countless people so far. Enjoy!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
In our introduction, we mentioned the distinction between the internet and actual published writing. Information on the internet is largely unregulated, meaning that anyone can voice their opinion and present it as fact without offering proper sources or having the right knowledge. The result is a great source of unreliable information that we feel overwhelmed by. This person says I should tape my feet like so; that person says this exercise will help; this one says that what I’m doing isn’t right, but that one disagrees with the first one. Wading through all of that in search for an accurate, helpful nugget of info can be a nightmare.
Which is why we ranked the items on our list according to their accuracy, first and foremost.
The majority of them have been written by experts, licensed podiatrists, pedicurists, physical therapists, personal trainers, and others, who have more than enough experience in the field of feet care. These people have gone through extensive education and training in their respective callings, and have gathered years of experience in working with all kinds of patients and addressing all sorts of problems before they decided to compile their knowledge into written work.
However, just because the author of a volume is a certified doctor, doesn’t mean that the topic they’re addressing isn’t a little bit controversial. Take Dr. Schuler’s Why You Really Hurt, for example - this text is all about a condition called Morton’s toe, which does exist, but which may not be as prevalent as the author suggests. His colleagues in the field might disagree with his views, though that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give his easy and simple methods of preventing pain a try.
The same could be said for all of the guides we listed here: they offer an abundance of information, exercises, programs and techniques for improving your gait, your posture, your overall well-being, but always keep in mind that not every method works for every individual. If something doesn’t feel right to you, don’t force it. And make sure to talk to your personal physician before attempting any type of treatment or exercise from a book, especially if you also suffer from diabetes or a similar condition.
Ease of Use
We have put together this guide in the hopes of bringing the world of foot care closer to the everyday person. By ‘ease of use’ here, we mean - how easy it is to understand the writing and the terminology, how well the author presented the facts and complicated concepts, how simple are the exercises to perform and whether they need anything extra in the form of special equipment, a gym or similar.
One of the most important things that we focused on was whether or not the material is easy to understand for someone with no medical training whatsoever. If we’re confused by all the long words and can’t keep up with what the author is saying, there is really no point in reading the text as we’ll just come out of it more lost than ever.
Overall, the items of our list are quite easy to follow. Some of them are more medically oriented, a bit dry in delivery of their information, such as The Foot Book by Rose and Martorana, while others can be quite funny in writing, making us laugh while we’re learning new things about our feet at the same time (like Katy Bowman’s Whole Body Barefoot).
Since we live in a world where we don’t have a lot of free time and where our attention is easily dragged away by other shiny things, we like a long, educational text that is broken into easily digestible pieces. This we see in Dr. Mike Hinkes’ Healthy Feet for People With Diabetes. This volume breaks down all the knowledge into short paragraphs, makes it colorful and interesting to follow with boxes and Dos and Don’ts lists, and in general is a very pleasant read.
The exercises and corrective techniques that you can find in these books are also very simple. You can perform them right there on the spot, in the comfort of your home, and none of them require any special tools or equipment. The exception is the exercises in Fixing You by Rick Olderman, some of which require a second person to help you, and the techniques described in Dr. Mix’s The Salon Professional’s Guide, which are more geared towards a salon setting than a home one.
We already touched upon the topic of effectiveness in our Accuracy section. One of the main questions that you no doubt ask yourself is whether or not this text will truly help you. Does this advice work? Will it finally ease your pain? Will you be able to move freely, more comfortably, and get back into walking, or even running in no time?
Well, as we mentioned earlier, the answers to these questions vary. While it is true that all the material in these works is accurate - backed by medical knowledge, extensive experience, and research - that still doesn’t guarantee its effectiveness. The reason for this is that we’re all different. Our feet are different in shape, in size, and we all walk in a different way. Our muscles are varied in strength, and we all suffer from different sets of conditions. No two patients are the same, and thus no treatment will work the same way on every person.
Does this mean that you have to give up? If a treatment from one book doesn’t work for you, does that mean that it’s over? Far from it! Just because your friend recommends you something that ends up not having any effect on you doesn’t mean that you should give up. As long as you keep trying, you will find a method that relieves you of pain and that returns the lightness to your step.
Before you make your final decision, think about what you’re looking for. Do you suffer from a specific condition? Plantar fasciitis? Hammertoes? Bunions? Get a title which specializes in that. Are you diabetic? Definitely focus more on the volumes aimed at people with diabetes. Are you an athlete? John Vonhof’s Fixing Your Feet is indispensable.
Choose a title which is relevant to your issues, and if that happens to not yield any results, don’t hesitate to branch out and try some other programs. You never know what will end up being the best course of action for you!
You may wonder what features a written work could possibly have - turns out, quite a few! Here we looked at what is beyond the words. We ranked the items according to what more they offer, aside from the text - pictures, diagrams, additional information online or even video instructions you can find on a website. In this digital era, combining a seemingly boring text with a visual aid of any kind is a lot more interesting to the reader, and helps them absorb information that much quicker.
At the top of our list when it comes to features is Rick Olderman’s Fixing You. This volume comes with links that take you to a website with video tutorials and demonstrations on how to properly conduct the exercises. We have to applaud this idea since it minimizes the risk of injury and makes sure that you are doing everything right. It is infinitely harder to learn how to do a physical activity from writing or a picture than it is from a video.
Other items that follow this one are Healthy Feet for People With Diabetes by Dr. Hinkes, Fixing Your Feet by John Vonhof, and The Salon Professional’s Guide by Dr. Mix, all of which come with useful pictures and step by step diagrams which explain things in more detail and show you just how to correctly apply a product. A special nod goes to Dr. Mix’s title, which also provides a graph of the simplified anatomy, described in layperson’s terms and yet no less effective in helping you understand just how your feet look under the skin.
It is a given that just because a title isn’t accompanied by links or videos or even colorful pictures doesn’t mean that it is in any way inferior. After all, we are here for the text and the written information, not so much for the flashy things on the side. However, these bonus features do help; they make the reading experience more fun, and help us retain knowledge faster than we perhaps would have by only reading without any neat graphs to help us consolidate that information.
Finally, the last criterion we judged our items by is their release date. The world of medicine and health is constantly moving forward - similarly to the world of IT, there is new research popping up every single day, new results that lead to new remedies or techniques that will aid with previously incurable conditions. It is important to stay on top of things, as a treatment which worked in the 90s may be outdated today, replaced by a method far more efficient and with better results.
The oldest title in our list is Stephanie L. Tourles’ Natural Foot Care, from 1998. Seeing as this title is based on a holistic approach to healing, one which involves herbal ingredients and homemade remedies, the fact that it is twenty years old shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. We are certain that the same ingredients which were available then are also available now, and that all the massage techniques haven’t lost their relaxing power.
Aside from Dr. Mix’s The Salon Professional’s Guide from 1999, all the other titles are from the 2010s, which is the current era and thus we consider them up to date.
A thing should be said for titles which are updated as new information pours in. This is the case with John Vonhof’s Fixing Your Feet. The first edition of this volume came out in 1997, a whole year before the oldest item on our list. However, the author felt the need to keep his readership updated, and kept working on the text, erasing outdated info and adding new important pieces and even entire new chapters as new discoveries were made. The sixth edition of his work came out in 2016, making it one of the most recent titles in our guide.
While the release date is not a vital factor in deciding whether or not a volume will be good for you, it is something that you should keep in mind. If a title is older than ten or fifteen years, there may be something more recent out there that will offer easier, more effective solutions for your ailments.
1. Healthy Feet for People With Diabetes
Did you know that every 30 seconds someone loses a limb due to diabetes? That is an incredibly scary fact, but, fortunately, also one which can be avoided. That is why we present you with the Healthy Feet for People With Diabetes, a volume written by Dr. Mark Hinkes, a practicing podiatrist with over 30 years of experience. This edition provides practical, comprehensive and easy-to-understand information that is essential for people with diabetes and their caregivers.
Inside these covers, you will find a sort of “owner’s manual” which will help you quickly recognize possible problems and take care of them before they get out of hand. Medical terms are simplified for better understanding, there are Dos and Don’ts lists, as well as Top Tips; everything is neatly arranged on colored pages, with visually friendly boxes, bold fonts and an abundance of internet links. It is a given that all recommendations and advice is backed by scientific evidence.
Healthy Feet for People With Diabetes is organized in 20 chapters which start from prevention guides - how to wash your feet and ankles, which socks to use and how to inspect them etc. Then they move onto common problems, such as skin and toenail issues and warts. Finally, there is a section on more serious conditions, like tumors and cysts.
If you are someone who suffers from diabetes or has a loved one who does, this book is a must-have. Its guidelines will ensure that you take an active role in taking care of yourself and your friends and family, and in the long run, it will drastically reduce your health care costs and improve your overall quality of life.
2. Fixing Your Feet
As you can glean from the title, this particular volume is aimed at athletes, both professional and recreational. John Vonhof himself is an avid runner and hiker, with over thirty years of experience. He combines this with his experience as a paramedic and an orthopedic and emergency room technician in his book Fixing Your Feet: Injury Prevention and Treatments for Athletes. It contains everything you need to know how to treat your feet right before, during and after extreme physical exertion.
You’ve often heard the phrase ‘no pain, no gain’. It is a concept that suggests that without being uncomfortable while you exercise, you’re not achieving any results. Well, John Vonhof disagrees, especially when it comes to feet. In Fixing Your Feet, he describes how anatomy, biomechanics, and footwear can lead to happy feet, and what you can do to take care of your feet now, as well as hundreds of miles in the future.
Fixing Your Feet features reliable methods of care from numerous experts, as well as tips and anecdotes about recovery and training. It provides information on products for treating nearly every possible ailment, as well as on both team care and individual care.
Fixing Your Feet has been continuously updated with new findings and new chapters, the latest of which is a section on Blister Prevention in the sixth edition of the volume. This book opens up an entire world of knowledge you have yet to explore, and if you are eager to start pampering your feet and making sure they serve you well years down the road, don’t hesitate to get it right away!
3. Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief
It is little surprise that Katy Bowman has not only one, but two items on this list, given how funny, eloquent and informative her books are. This biomechanist has a goal to help people from all walks of life eliminate pain and prevent it from coming back, and this is exactly what she strives to achieve with the Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief.
This volume features simple, accessible material and colorful illustrations which describe how to strengthen and mobilize your feet, and how to move your body in a way that reduces your pain, heals your feet and decreases damage to the rest of your body. Katy Bowman talks about issues such as bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, and poor posture and alignment and helps you deal with all of them.
The Simple Steps guide comes with gentle exercises to strengthen your feet, with advice on what type of shoes you should be (and shouldn't be!) wearing, as well as how these choices affect your overall body condition. It is written in a way that is easy to understand and even easier to apply to your daily life.
If you’ve already been to the doctor’s office several times and found that no treatment helps reduce your pain, definitely give this book a go. In essence, it will teach you how to use your feet optimally to feel confident and pain-free for as long as possible!
4. Fixing You: Foot & Ankle Pain
Rick Olderman is a physical therapist, a personal trainer and a Pilates instructor. His specialty is helping people with chronic pain or recurring injuries by correcting the biomechanics of painful movement. Fixing You: Foot & Ankle Pain is part of his Fixing You series, which focuses on relieving pain in all parts of the body; this volume, of course, being centered on feet and ankles.
In this edition, Rick Olderman describes causes of chronic pain and discusses a wide range of factors involved. These factors can be heel strike patterns, the shape of the feet and the thigh bones, the tightness of the calf, the function of the feet muscles and many others. Olderman also offers strategies to fix these issues, such as taping and techniques to loosen up chronically tight muscles.
Moreover, Fixing You also has tips on how to select the best orthosis and talks about minimalist running. What is particularly cool is that with this volume you also get access to special video clips and tutorials online, which help you perform the exercises better and reap the benefits much faster!
In his Fixing You series, Rick Olderman doesn’t offer anything new. However, he does put together all of the information that would take days, if not weeks, for you to find online, in a neat, easy to read package. It is accompanied by pictures and online video instructions, and really there is no reason not to try treating yourself to some pain relief right away!
5. The Ultimate Guide to Strong Healthy Feet
William Errol Prowse IV is, despite what his lengthy, elaborate name might suggest, not a member of any royal family. He is also not a doctor or a pedicurist, and at first didn’t have anything to do with the world of feet, to be honest. However, Prowse was a gymnast. This elegant, demanding sport started giving him heel pain, which then grew into a plantar fasciitis problem, which then made him desperate. In his search for the ultimate cure, Prowse has become a verifiable expert on providing relief from pain and pressure in feet and has since written several books on the topic, all of which feature methods that he himself has tried out.
In The Ultimate Guide to Strong Healthy Feet, Prowse doesn’t focus only on plantar fasciitis. He addresses many chronic ailments that plague the modern man, including flat feet, bunions, neuromas, hammertoes and a dysfunctional walking gait. So many of these issues are considered a regular part of everyday life, and something that can’t be cured so easily.
However, Prowse will tell you that those understandings are wrong! Thanks to his extensive research, trial and error, and discussions with podiatrists and soft tissue therapists, he has come up with a simple program which can permanently reverse a myriad of problems. This Guide features a step by step method that is easy to follow and that will help you get rid of pain forever!
When you feel disappointed, and perhaps even betrayed by licensed professionals, The Ultimate Guide is here to provide you with cohesive, easily applicable advise that actually works! You don’t have to worry about pain any longer, thanks to the efforts of William Errol Prowse IV and his long-standing search for the ultimate cure to many conditions.
6. The Salon Professional’s Guide
Dr. Godfrey F. Mix is a podiatrist (a specialist in the field of diagnosing and treating conditions related to the feet, ankles and lower extremities), and has been one since 1968. He owns RX Productions, which sounds like a music producer’s studio, but is actually a practice which aims to deliver professional service to the beauty industry. This book, The Salon Professional’s Guide, was published in 1999 and is basically everything you need to know about properly taking care of your feet, both medically and aesthetically.
What sets Dr. Mix apart from his colleagues is his belief that pedicurists and podiatrists should work hand in hand to provide the best possible service for their customers and patients. In his Guide, you will find information that every foot care professional needs to know in order to establish a good working practice, including sections about systemic diseases and common problems.
Additionally, the Guide also offers a thorough and yet easy-to-follow explanation of the foot anatomy, as well as an outline of how this part of the human body evolved over time. There is also a full-color insert included so that you have a visual to match the theory.
This Guide can serve as both a basic learning tool for those of us who are simply curious about the topic and also as a general reference for those who wish to enter this field professionally. It is a detailed, yet delightfully simple way to start your journey into taking care of your feet.
7. Whole Body Barefoot
Katy Bowman describes herself as a part biomechanist, part science communicator and full-time mover. She has devoted her life to educating people on how movement affects their body, and does this both through her writing and through her award-winning podcast, Katy Says. One of her bestselling volumes is the Whole Body Barefoot: Transitioning Well to Minimal Footwear. As a thrilled reviewer has described it - this is a must-have book for anyone with feet!
The Whole Body Barefoot talks about the well-known discussion of not wearing footwear. Those who are in love with walking barefoot say that shoes hinder optimal body function, while medical professionals maintain that not wearing your shoes for prolonged periods of time leads to injury. In the midst of this back-and-forth, the public comes out confused and unsure of what the truth really is.
Fortunately, Katy Bowman is here to set the record straight. In a detailed, humoristic way, this author describes how both sides of the argument are right and wrong, by using evolutionary based and biomechanics rooted facts. She agrees that in the modern world shoes do have a purpose, but that we need to choose our them right if we don’t want to endanger our whole-body health.
Katy’s writing style flows well and is refreshingly easy to follow. She breaks down the more complicated concepts in bits of information that are applicable to everyday life and uses humor to make all of the science easier to swallow. There is hardly a volume on musculature, bones, and biomechanics that is livelier or more entertaining than this one.
8. The Foot Book
The authors of The Foot Book: A Complete Guide to Healthy Feet, Jonathan D. Rose and Vincent J. Martorana are podiatrists who are still practicing today. They have set out to accomplish the daunting task of delivering a comprehensible guide on all things feet related, that is easily accessible and easily understandable by everyone, not only those who share their medical calling. And, at least in our humble opinion, we feel that with this volume they have achieved just that.
This book deals with the most common ailments which can affect the feet and the ankles. There is hardly a topic which isn’t discussed - beginning with corns and blisters to tumors and more serious nail problems. There are also sections on children’s feet, sports-related problems, shoes, and orthotics. If you can think of anything that is related to feet, it is most likely covered by this book.
Furthermore, the authors also outline treatments that are available both in a professional setting and at home. Rose and Martorana favor the individual approach to therapy, as they know from experience that not every treatment works well for every patient. Their writing also explains anatomy concepts in detail, inside and out, using simple English terms and avoiding those long, confusing medical words.
Rose and Martorana have indeed outdone themselves in compiling a rich resource on disorders, diseases, and injuries as well as diagnosing and treatment, all geared towards those of us who don’t have any medical experience. If you are looking for that one giant reference guide on feet to have on hand in your home, then your search time is definitely over.
9. Why You Really Hurt
Dr. Burton S. Schuler is a podiatrist who has been practicing medicine since 1984. Ten years later, this doctor and his staff became the first podiatric clinic in the south to be accredited as a pain program, for treating pain in the feet. And Dr. Schuler’s focus on pain continued, as he expanded his knowledge and finally published this title, Why You Really Hurt. It focuses on one very specific issue regarding feet, called Morton’s toe.
What exactly is Morton’s toe? This is a condition in which the third bone of your big toe (from the top, also called the first metatarsal) is shorter than it should be. On the outside, this may not be particularly visible, as this bone is inside your foot, but over time, this seemingly insignificant issue can cause a world of problems, including but not limited to: back pain, hip pain, knee and leg pain, plantar fasciitis, fibromyalgia, arthritis, bunions, corns and calluses and more!
So many people all over the world - Dr. Schuler estimates millions - suffer from these conditions every single day without actually knowing the reason behind it. The author of this book offers a simple, surgery-free solution of purchasing cheap pads you can find anywhere, cutting them to the right size, and placing them inside your footwear to instantly relieve pain and improve your walking experience.
Not many physicians have heard of Morton’s toe, and even those who have tend to scoff at it. However, all the reviews we have encountered are from people who have been desperate for any semblance of pain relief, and who have finally found it with Dr. Schuler’s simple, effective solution after years of searching. You can’t give up until you’ve read this volume and gave these techniques a try.
10. Natural Foot Care
Stephanie L. Tourles is a licensed holistic esthetician. She has a background in Western and Ayurvedic herbalism and is all about a healthy lifestyle filled with aromatherapy and reflexology, among other practices. While all other items on our list focus on pain-relief to some degree, the Natural Foot Care guide is about saying goodbye to sore and irritated skin and feet, with a myriad of herbal and holistic techniques to apply in your own home.
In this volume you will find: easy recipes for hydrating creams, relaxing soaks and healing ointments, natural remedies for common problems such as bunions, corns, and calluses, instructions and solutions for an at-home pedicure, advice for finding shoes that fit right, exercises for building feet muscles and techniques for giving a relaxing foot massage.
This edition isn’t rooted in science or conventional medicine but is geared towards a more holistic, natural approach to taking care of your feet. If you are also looking to step into the world of reflexology, it offers advice which can be easily passed on to clients, as well as products that your clients will love, too.
Through soothing herbal ingredients, gentle exercises and much-needed baths, your feet will come out the other side feeling refreshed, pampered and ready to take on new challenges!