How Tight, Toxic Shoes Cause Skin Cancer on the Feet

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Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, affecting about 1 in 5 people by the age of 70.1 More people get skin cancer than all other cancers combined. What could be driving skin cancer to these high incidence levels?

When you research skin cancer, the primary cause most medical authorities will mention is ultraviolet radiation (UV).2 This will lead to recommendations to use sunscreen and get regular check-ups to look for questionable skin growths. 

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The problem with UV, of course, is that it breaks chemical bonds, including bonds inside DNA, leading to mutations that can cause cancer. UV also kills cells, making it useful as an antiseptic. On the other hand, we evolved to live in the sunlight. The energy of the UV from the sun also causes important chemical reactions in the skin that are involved in the formation of Vitamin D. So getting some UV is healthy and important, but too much can cause damage.

Doctors, however, are of the opinion that sunshine is more harmful than beneficial, and recommend taking Vitamin D pills and using sunscreen.

Yet, despite this advice, skin cancer is still astronomically high compared to other cancers. Something is missing about the cause of skin cancer. And this is most evident when describing the cause of skin cancer on the feet, where the sun never shines. 

Skin cancer on the feet 

There are different types of skin cancer. Most are benign and pose no serious health problem. But one type is different, called a melanoma. This is the rarest type of skin cancer, accounting for about 1% of all cases. But this skin cancer is the most dangerous, since it can metastasize and spread, making it potentially deadly. 

Melanomas often develop underneath clothing, and especially on the feet. Podiatrists are often the ones discovering these skin cancers on the feet. Here is what the American Podiatric Medical Association says about melanoma of the feet:3 

Cause: “We often view the sun’s harmful rays as the primary cause of skin cancer; the condition is often found on parts of the body that receive the most sun exposure. Skin cancers of the feet, however, are more often related to viruses, exposure to chemicals, chronic inflammation or irritation, or inherited traits. Unfortunately, the skin of the feet is often overlooked during routine medical examinations, and for this reason, it important that the feet are checked regularly for abnormalities that might indicate evolving skin cancer.” (Bold added.)

However, this is what they say about prevention: “Prevention of skin cancer on the feet and ankles is similar to any other body part. Limit sun exposure, and make sure to apply appropriate sunscreen when you are outdoors and your feet and ankles are exposed.”

Their recommendation for prevention shows the limits of the current model for skin cancer. No mention is made of a source of chemical exposure, chronic inflammation, or irritation. Instead, the sun is implicated, even on the bottom of the feet. How does avoiding the sun prevent skin cancer on the soles of the feet, unless you are sunbathing with your feet facing the sky?

The Chemical Connection

Chemicals are another cause of cancer. We apply chemicals to our skin in lotions, creams, and soaps. We apply deodorants and perfumes to the skin, as well as cosmetics, and these products usually contain chemicals known to cause problems, or are not tested for their health effects. Many times the contents of these products are proprietary and not fully disclosed, so their hazards are unknown.

What does UV do to sunscreen applied to the skin? 

Sunscreen, of course, contains chemicals, some of which are toxic. Some chemicals can be altered by exposure to the ultraviolet radiation from the sun, creating new chemicals in the lotion on your skin. However, the potential impact of absorbing these chemicals into your skin is ignored by medicine. Sunscreens are not tested for UV products made in sunlight when used on the skin, or what these chemicals do to the body. Some studies have shown that sunscreens can actually cause skin cancer.4

So the primary advice to use sunscreen may be one reason why skin cancer is still high. 

If you don’t want to lather on sunscreen, the medical authorities on skin cancer recommend that you wear clothing that blocks the sun. However, they don’t mention that synthetic clothing material can be damaged by the UV of the sun and break down into harmful chemicals that can be absorbed into your skin. Sunbathing in a polyester bathing suit, for example, will expose the skin to UV breakdown products from the material. Wearing a hat made from synthetic fabric while in the sun exposes the skin on the forehead and scalp to toxic chemicals. 

What else can you do to prevent skin cancer besides using chemical or fabric sunscreens? Any other sources of chemical toxins that can affect the skin? 

Tying in Shoes

When you think about the feet and what could affect them, the first thing that comes to mind is the use of shoes. Tight shoes distort and misshape feet, causing bunions, hammertoes, callouses, and affects the joints of the ankle, knee, hip, and spine. High-heeled shoes are obviously bad for the body and legs.  

Added to the tightness of shoes is another problem with shoes that is completely ignored by medicine, which is their toxicity. Shoes are made of a variety of components and materials, all of which have their own chain of toxic production, bringing a toxic soup to your sweaty feet.

According to a Global Product Safety Guidebook, produced by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), in their review called, Understanding Chemical and Physical Requirements for Footwear,5 here are some of the toxic ingredients in shoes that need to be controlled:

Lead, Cadmium, Phthalates, Azo dyes, Heavy Metals, Chrome VI, Formaldehyde, Chlorinated Phenols, Disperse Dyes, Dimethyl Fumerate, Alkylphenol and Alkylphenol Ethoxylate, Flame retardants, Organotin Compounds, PFAS/PFOA, Pesticides, VOC, Nitrosamines, Bisphenol A, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Nickel, Short-chain Chlorinated Paraffins, and more.

You don’t need to be a chemist to know that shoes are a chemical brew. Whenever you walk into a shoe store, the smell of all the volatile chemicals are a giveaway of how toxic shoes are. 

Normally, however, when you buy new clothing, you wash it first. There are sometimes instructions that come with the garment recommending washing it first. But nobody washes shoes when they are new. Or even when they are old. Shoes retain their chemicals as they slowly leach into sweaty socks and the hot feet therein. 

Tight Socks and Lymphedema

When wearing shoes, the feet usually also have socks on, which come between the shoe and the foot. However, socks contain their own chemical components, especially synthetic socks with polyester or nylon or spandex. All these synthetic chemicals can leach into the skin from the socks, which are also absorbing the chemicals in the shoes. 

However, socks also constrict the skin to hold on and not slide down. The tops of socks are amazingly tight, as is evident by indentations and grooves around the leg where the sock held on. What health problems can tight-topped socks cause?

All tight clothing interferes with circulation. If very tight, the clothing can impair blood circulation, as with a tourniquet. Loosen up on that a little, and arterial blood can pass, but venous blood returning to the heart can still be stopped by the compression. Let up some more, and the veins can drain, but the lymphatic system can still be constricted to some degree and not properly flowing.

The lymphatic system is the circulatory pathway of the immune system. It consists of microscopic tubules that drain the fluid bathing the cells, called lymph, and takes this fluid to lymph nodes for immune system response, if needed, eventually returning the lymph to the bloodstream. If tight clothing compresses or constricts these lymphatic vessels, fluid can be blocked in the tissue spaces, making the skin congested with lymph. This is called lymphedema. 

People can see and feel puffy skin on their feet and ankles when removing their socks at night. There is usually a deep groove where the top of the sock had been digging into the skin, where it was holding on with tight elastic.

Gravity also pulls fluid down to the feet while you are standing and vertical all day, adding to the problem of fluid in the feet. And sitting also crimps blood vessels in the inguinal area, increasing resistance to the return of blood from the feet. This further contributes to lymphedema in the skin of the feet.

Lymphedema of the skin of the feet can lead to foot fungus, poor wound healing, and ulcers. Add to that cancer-causing toxic chemicals from the shoes, and you have the conditions for skin cancer. 

Putting it all together

In summary, the skin of the feet is toxic from soaking in chemicals leaching from shoes and socks. These toxins cannot effectively be flushed away from the feet with poor circulation from tight-topped socks constricting the skin lymphatics. The socks concentrate these shoe-leached toxins in the skin of the feet by impairing the natural lymphatic cleansing process. And since the lymphatics are essential for immune function, constricted lymphatics also result in reduced ability to fight developing cancers. 

Too Simple for Medical Minds?

Here, then, is a simple model for explaining the medical mystery of why people get skin cancer on the bottom of their feet.

Amazingly, this simple theory is not even mentioned by any of the authorities on skin cancer and feet. There is no mention of tight, toxic shoes as a source of chemical exposure, chronic inflammation, or irritation that can lead to skin cancer.

This is not the only instance of medicine ignoring tight clothing as a factor in cancer development.

Bras, too

Shoes are one of the tightest articles of clothing people wear. But there is another part of the body that is subjected to tight and toxic clothing, and that is the breasts and the use of bras. (By the way, the breasts are considered accessory skin organs, specifically, modified sweat glands. So breast cancer is really a form of skin cancer.)

I have written extensively about the bra-cancer link. My team performed the world’s first study looking specifically at the impact of bras on breast cancer incidence, called the 1991-93 US Bra and Breast Cancer Study, published in the book, Dressed to Kill: Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras.6 Since then, numerous studies from around the world have confirmed the link,7 and new bra styles are being designed for less constriction of the breasts, and containing less toxic fabric. 

The bra-cancer link, like the shoe/sock-cancer link, is caused by a tight garment impairing the essential functions of the lymphatic system.8 This causes tissues to become congested with toxic fluid. In addition, these garments can themselves deliver some of these toxins directly into the skin exposed to them. 

Of course, some toxins come from our polluted food, air, and water. Plastics are poisoning us all. But most of these toxins are detoxified by the liver and kidneys and eliminated from the body, if they can first be flushed away from all the tissues of the body. If we have proper circulation, then toxins are less of a problem. If we constrict our toxin-removing lymphatic system, then toxins get focused in an area of the body that is constricted by tight clothing. 

However, the current medical model for cancer does not consider the impact of tight clothing on circulation. The current cancer model doesn’t even consider the importance of the lymphatic system in immune function and fighting cancers as they develop. The current model just considers the lymphatics as a pathway for cancer spreading, not as a natural mechanism for cancer prevention. It ignores the mechanical impact of tight clothing on circulation and on the function of the extracellular matrix. 

Wearing Blinders

How can the medical model be so stupid? How can any intelligent researcher or doctor completely ignore bras when considering breast cancer, and ignore shoes when considering foot cancer? Is the theory outlined above too difficult for medical researchers to understand? 

Or is there no profit in telling people to not wear tight clothing to prevent cancer when you make your money selling cancer detection services, followed-up with the inevitable surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy?

Perhaps the medical industry just doesn’t want to throw stones at the chemical industry because it is part of that industry? Some of the most toxic substances people take into their bodies are drugs from the pharmacy.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be this blind to the truth. People are now catching on that the medical industry is more concerned about control and profits, than about health and people. You can save yourself the health problems of tight, toxic clothing today! 

Here is what you can do

1. Stop wearing any clothing that is made of synthetic fabric. That’s the same as wearing plastic, since fabrics like polyester are literally plastic. We know plastics are polluting the environment. They are also polluting your personal environment, which is your body.

2. Don’t wear anything tight. If any garment leaves marks in your skin, then it is too tight.

3. Only wear clothing that is made from natural fibers, such as cotton, silk, hemp, wool, and linen. 

4. Always wear socks when wearing shoes. 

5. Make sure socks are not tight around the leg/ankle, which is evident by indentations in the skin when you take it off. Try buying cotton “diabetic” socks, which have looser tops. 

6. Buy non-toxic shoes, if you can find them. Make sure they are wide enough for your feet. The toes should be the widest part of the shoe. 

7. Be barefoot as much as possible. Shoes have a place in our lives to protect our feet, if they are not tight and toxic. But being barefoot, as nature intended, is optimal whenever possible. However, keep in mind what you are walking on with bare feet, such as toxic carpeting.

8. Change socks often to prevent soaking your feet in sweat mixed with shoe toxins. 

9. Wash your feet after wearing shoes. 

10. Never wear socks to bed, since the constriction will never end. The same goes for bras. Never sleep in tight garments.

11. Get rid of all high-heeled shoes. There is no use for these types of shoes except for those with a foot and leg fetish. The same thing goes for the push-up bra, which is the equivalent of a stiletto-heeled shoe. These items are often worn together, since they are both clothing fetishes. If you choose to use these tight garments, then take them off as soon as possible.

12. Stop donating to cancer societies or organizations which do not recognize the harms of tight clothing on cancer development. They are either incompetent, or they are shills for the drug industry.

13. Tell your children, friends, and loved ones that they can be killing themselves with their clothing. Your doctor won’t tell them this.  The Internet won’t have much information about non-drug solutions to problems. The public needs to spread the word. Medical incompetence, self-interest, and stubborn arrogance will continue to keep these obvious ways to prevent cancer from the public. 

14. Tell your doctor that tight clothing is bad. They only know what they are trained to know, and most of that comes from animal research on naked animals that don’t wear bras or shoes, not to mention tight socks. 

15. Tell your doctor that toxic chemicals are bad, especially when you wear them tightly next to your skin. If the doctor says that there is no reliable research showing these toxic chemicals are bad, then get another doctor. 

16. Remember, explaining to you how clothing choices affects your health is not something a doctor thinks of doing. And it avoids needing to prescribe drugs or surgery, which is all the medical industry knows how to do, and all they profit from doing. 

Doctors are probably also wearing tight bras and shoes themselves. So have some patience with the doctor, and let the doctor  know that they are harming themselves with tight clothing.9 

Someone has to educate doctors about the hazards of tight clothing. Until cutting a bra strap, or severing shoelaces, are considered billable medical procedures, don’t expect medicine to tell you how to prevent disease, including cancer, by simply changing your wardrobe. 

  1.  https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts/
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  2. What to know about foot melanoma, Medical News Today
    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/79115#prevention
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  3. https://www.apma.org/skincancersofthefeet
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  4. Sunscreen: Snake Oil of the 21st Century, The Institute for Natural Healing
    https://www.institutefornaturalhealing.com/2012/07/sunscreen-snake-oil-of-the-21st-century/
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  5. http://fdra.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Footwear-FDRA-Chemical-and-Physical-Testing-Guidebook-2014-Aug.pdf
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  6. Dressed to Kill: the Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, Second Edition, (2018) 
    https://squareonepublishers.com/products/dressed-to-kill-second-edition
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  7. See https://brasandbreastcancer.org/supportive-references. 
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  8. How Bras Cause Lymph Stasis and Breast Cancer, academia.edu
    https://www.academia.edu/36287546/HOW_BRAS_CAUSE_LYMPH_STASIS_AND_BREAST_CANCER
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  9. Doctors and Lifestyle: The Blind Leading the Blind, academia.edu
    https://www.academia.edu/44997719/Doctors_and_Lifestyle_The_Blind_Leading_the_Blind
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