Thursday, April 26, 2012

Foot contortion

I just read this article about Sasha Deguilian climbing another 9a, and that's pretty cool - in fact it's very cool indeed.

Aside from the cool send, I was looking at the photo that accompanied the article (above) and I was drawn to look at her right foot!

The foot does not fit the face of this girl!!

Now one can say the colour is obviously the dye from the Dragons, but it lead me to ask, WHAT are we doing to our feet as climbers - my feet look the same as Sasha's (minus the red dye) my toes are contorted and a few of my toenails blackened - I hate my feet and a couple of years ago, I'd have said I had pretty well formed attractive feet for sandal wearing and barefoot strolling and so on... I'd never wear sandals now - my feet are a mess!!

This image of a model-like girl who's just come off a send of this savage route - Era Bella (9a) has me wondering what the implications might be from wearing the tight boots we use to send our own hardest lines.


  1. What about Eoin's massaging skills?

  2. strange, I get lumps on top of my toes where there are pressure points but toes aren't contorted, although I've had a twinge in joint of big toe from wearing shoes too long at one point. I've even spoken to foot specialists about rockshoes to ask these questions. About the lumps, one doctor laughed, pointed at the lumps of hard skin on side of his fingers from writing with a pen so much, and called it a 'job hazard'.
    Short answer is, I've no real idea, but after 12/13 years I don't seem to have any troubles and I always wear very tight rockshoes!

  3. She's been climbing hard since she was a 7 year-old which is going to have a much more damaging effect on her feet than starting as an adult.

    That foot is still much better than a PE teacher of mine at school who'd been a competitive teenage basketball player. Running up on his toes all the time had left his toes pretty messed up.

    All this raises some pretty tricky ethical questions about children in physical disciplines. Many retired dancers need their hips or knees replaced at an unusually young age. But would they regret that, as children their, parents encouraged them down the road to that career? I can't watch child contortionists without thinking they are basically being abused for profit, and they'll certainly suffer the physical consequences later - but where do you draw the line?

  4. Fair point. I have noticed at most climbing walls (at least here, although this includes some very well known climbing kiddies - Enzo Otto, etc) who have been climbing from a very young age and they all wear shoes that are sensibly fit, no major squashing of feet into shoes and if anything getting them climbing in shoes almost too big (but considering how quick their feet are growing, that is probably a good thing too?).
    I'd say the bigger concern will be potential finger issues for those kids, not sure the footwear thing will be as much of an issue but maybe I'll be proved wrong!
    Will make sure to emphasize to kids myself when I'm out with clubs about this issue.....