A common reaction podiatrists encounter is people recoiling when we tell them what we do. ‘Oh, I could never touch someone else’s feet, I don’t know how you do it!’ is something we’ve heard many times.
There are people who would pay to touch people’s feet. Foot fetishes are actually quite common.
Believe it or not, there is a scientific reason why some people get excited at the thought of, or sight of, feet, shoes or socks. The ‘condition’ even has its own name: podophilia.
There a few scientific theories behind someone’s fascination with feet, one of which comes from Sigmund Freud. He believes foot fetishes are established in childhood—from children seeing their mother’s genitals and being shocked to learn that women don’t have penises. Apparently, according to Freud, this evokes a lifelong fixation on body parts that resemble penises, such as the toes and feet.
Toes can certainly appear erotic to some people; toe-sucking is a relatively common sexual practice. Research shows that the feet and toes are the most common area of the body to be the focus of a fetish, after the genitals.
Another theory, put forward by neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran, considers the mapping of the brain and its various stimuli. Apparently, the part of the brain that processes physical sensations relating to our feet is next to the area that deals with any stimulation of the genitals. Perhaps, when these two areas meld, mesh or their electrical impulses cross, a foot fetish arises. Our feet are packed full of nerve-endings, so it’s therefore no surprise that some people can derive pleasure from having their feet and toes stroked or licked.
Imprinting is another possible explanation, which is the act of individuals attaching their emotions and/or hormones onto objects. Whilst this can include the feet, it can also include inanimate objects—scenarios include people falling in love with the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate bridge, for example.
Apparently, the human race can be split into two: sex-positive and sex-negative people. The latter includes people who see the act of sex as a means to procreate and little more. Sex-positive people are where those with fetishes can be found, as they’re far more likely to see sex as a fun activity, not just a means to an end, and will likely experiment with lots of different erotic practices.
As most medical professionals would attest to, when working in healthcare, you don’t tend to see the human body in the same way as the general public. Rather than the feet being something horror movies or sex movies should feature, to us, they’re simply a part of the body.
We’re highly unlikely to have foot fetishes for this reason—we’re detached and impassive about feet, in the same way a dentist is about their patients’ teeth or a brain surgeon working on someone’s grey matter. We do have huge empathy for the people we treat, however, as we know how painful many of the conditions and problems people suffer from can be. The problems we deal with can affect our clients’ mobility and interrupt their sleep, if particularly excruciating.
We don’t make judgements about any of our clients’ lifestyles or have any opinion about an individual’s cleanliness—we know how difficult it can be to perform everyday tasks when your mobility is impacted. We simply treat the issue at hand, professionally and effectively.
Treat Your Feet can be reached on 01226 492412 (Wombwell) or 0113 238 0330 (Morley).