Keep your feet fit for a princess, Kate: A podiatrist's warning to the Duchess of Cambridge that her Royal lifestyle is taking its toll on her toes

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 18 August 2012

In an open letter, podiatrist Emma Supple gives the Duchess of Cambridge some sound professional advice.

footsore: The Duchess of Cambridges Royal duties may be having an effect on her feet

Footsore: The Duchess of Cambridges Royal duties may be having an effect on her feet

When I first saw the pictures of your bare feet – which you exposed on a pre-Olympic visit to a judo centre – I didn’t know whose they were.

The redness, bruising and flaking on the feet told me that they are put under a great deal of pressure for long periods of time, and I wondered: do they belong to an athlete

I was shocked to find out whose they were because, Kate, you have early signs of conditions such as bunions and corns that will only worsen, and others that could do with treatment now.

The tendons on the inner border of the foot are protruding more than normal (even when standing barefoot), which suggests they’re tight.

This is because you have naturally low arches, which can be a precursor to an ankle injury. Any twisting or sudden movement could potentially strain them, so be careful.

Your love of high heels is probably a saving grace – elevating the heel allows the toe joint to move more freely and compensates for a lack of arch in the foot.

But beware; your constricted toes may be a result of wearing shoes that are too snug, so loosen up a bit.

You can get away with it while you’re young, but problems are being stored up for later.

Now would be a good time to see a podiatrist – someone as active as you shouldn’t neglect their feet.

Those Royal walkabouts are only going to continue.

Here are your problems as I see them and my suggested solutions:

YOUR TOENAILS

There
is discolouration and staining on your toenails, which is probably
caused by using dark nail varnishes.

The big toe on your left foot also
looks as though it’s curling inwards, which can be a precursor to an
in-grown toenail.

There is also some yellowing of the little toe on your left foot, too, which could be an infection.

Solution:
Use tea tree oil to clean the toenails every two days. Use a base coat
every time you apply varnish to avoid discoloration.

Nailstat
(25, available from supplefeet.com) is a good brand to use because it
contains anti-fungal ingredients.

Likewise, try OPI Natural Nail Base
Coat, 15ml, 11, beautybay.com and Tisserand Organic Tea Tree Oil, 9ml,
5.35, johnlewis.com.

YOUR BIG TOE

It
appears that you have a condition called functional hallux limitus. Due
to your low arches, the big toe (which needs to flex every time you
take a step) is being restricted at the moment it should bend. Perhaps
you get shooting pains in the balls of your feet already

Unchecked, this can go on to cause arthritis of the toe joint.

If
I could see the underside of your feet I suspect there’d be calluses –
hard skin on the soles of the feet around the second toe area, caused by
the same problem.

Solution:
Wear thicker-soled shoes such as wedges. You may benefit from using
orthotic inserts during sports, which help support the natural shape of
the foot. I recommend a brand called New Balance. Beach Sandals will
also help to open up your toes.

YOUR CORNS

Corns: Kate's fourth and fifth toes are affected

Corns: Kate's fourth and fifth toes are affected

Corns are starting to form on your fourth and fifth toes.

These hard cones of excess skin are created when the skin is exposed to pressure, then a harder layer forms over it.

As yet they don’t look too painful, but they’re starting to be unsightly. Without treatment they will worsen.

Solution: Corn plasters can alleviate the pressure. Avoid ones containing salicylic acid as they can hurt.

Dermal fillers used by cosmetic surgeons to correct crow’s feet are a discreet way of plumping up the underlying skin if they become a real problem.

Meanwhile, try Compeed Blister On Toe Plasters (3.99 for eight, expresschemist.co.uk).

YOUR BUNIONS

Bunions: Duchess's feet shows early signs

Bunions: Duchess's feet shows early signs

You also have the beginnings of bunions – a structural deformity of the big toe joint, where the bones gradually become misaligned.

At the moment, it appears to be in the very early stages (grade one –grade three/four is the point at which we’d consider surgery). This is visible because your big toe joint is becoming more prominent and your big toe is leaning inwards.

Bunions are an inherited condition, so I wouldn’t be surprised if your mother, aunt or grandmother suffers from them. That said, forcing feet into poorly fitting shoes will rub the toes even further.

Solution: Untreated bunions can progress to the point when surgery is inevitable. There is also a high risk of arthritis to the joint long-term. Stick to rounder toe shapes and don’t wear heels more than 1in high.

YOUR DRY HEELS

Flaky heels: Dry skin needs moisturising

Flaky heels: Dry skin needs moisturising

The skin on your heels is callused and dry because your body weight falls on that one area (rather than being distributed evenly over the foot).

If you’re not careful they’ll develop into fissures, when the skin becomes so hard it cracks. This is only an aesthetic problem, unless the cracking becomes deep.

Solution: Feet and heels should be moisturised every day. Creams containing urea are best as they attract water and lock it into the skin.

Try Eucerin Dry Skin Intensive Foot Cream, 10% Urea, 100ml, 10.89, boots.com or CCS Heel Balm, 6.25, 75ml, simplyfeet.co.uk.