A Simple Pair of Socks

Muhammad Ali once said,

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you down. It’s the pebble in your shoe.”

Now imagine you’re wearing shoes, climbing that mountain and gripping your hands into that mountain to get to the top. Imagine, that tiny, annoying pebble in your shoe, the pain with each step. Now imagine, that you’re not wearing socks. That pain suddenly intensified as each step drives the tiny pebble into skin, tissue and even bone. For some people experiencing homelessness these images are real, the pain is real and so is the importance of socks.  Socks provide a basic mechanical layer and assist in combating blisters and foot ulcers, which could ultimately lead to possible amputation. Boney prominences of the feet become irritated by friction. Socks decrease friction between shoes and the foot. Socks help cushion the bottom of the foot. This friction leads to thickened skin which is at best painful. It feels like a pebble in your shoe. Many homeless people have a condition called polyneuropathy. They lose nerve function and cannot feel irritations of their feet. The skin on the feet may break down and form an ulcer, which usually becomes infected with cellulitis, sepsis or bone infection. In lower extremities bone infections are often cured by amputation. Socks decrease friction between the shoe and the foot and can prevent or minimize the impact of these painful conditions.

I have seen several open wounds, missing nails and infections of the feet. Each person I serve, validates the importance of my platform. One foot at a time, I am helping the homeless with a simple pair of socks.

Hope for all,
Erin Bertel

Mrs. North Dakota International 2015

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