Experts advise on caring for your feet

For many people, feet are about as attractive as a pair of old trainers, which might explain why they’re so often neglected when it comes to personal health.

But feet are one of the most important parts of the body, taking on one-and-a-half times our weight when walking and up to four times when running. They also carry each person for approximately 185,000 kilometres during their lifetime.

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service Foundation Trust, 75 per cent of people experience foot problems at some time in their life, and these are largely caused by a lack of basic care.

Susan Tulley, head of podiatry at Healthpoint hospital in Abu Dhabi, says that ailments such as corns, blisters and sprains can be avoided simply by wearing well-fitting, sensible footwear, including sandals with an adjustable strap over the foot and another around the heel.

When it comes to sports, to prevent callouses, Tulley warns against walking barefoot on a treadmill, instead recommending lace-up shoes or footwear with a Velcro fastening.

Dr Saf Naqvi, medical director at Abu Dhabi’s Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, agrees.

“Footwear must fit feet and not the other way around,” he says. “Have your feet measured regularly as they can change shape and size.”

Good foot care is especially important for diabetics, who often suffer nerve damage and because of loss of sensation may not realise they have a problem with their feet. For this reason, it is recommended that diabetics examine their feet and nails every day.

The most common foot problems among patients at ICLDC include callouses, diabetes-induced ulcers and ingrowing toenails. Bunions and corns are also prevalent and often the result of ill-fitting shoes.

Fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, meanwhile, thrive in moist conditions, so slip on waterproof socks in public showers and avoid wearing other people’s shoes. This will also help prevent verrucae – non-cancerous warts on the soles of feet – which is often caught at swimming pools.

Naqvi recommends changing your socks often to avoid the spread of fungus, nasty odours and other common foot problems.

“Before you put on shoes and socks, check for objects – sharp and otherwise – that may have fallen inside or become attached,” he says, “and wash your socks and stockings after every use.”

Healthpoint and ICLDC recommend making foot care a priority and having them regularly checked by your doctor and/or podiatrist.

Company profile

Date started: December 24, 2018

Founders: Omer Gurel, chief executive and co-founder and Edebali Sener, co-founder and chief technology officer

Based: Dubai Media City

Number of employees: 42 (34 in Dubai and a tech team of eight in Ankara, Turkey)

Sector: ConsumerTech and FinTech

Cashflow: Almost $1 million a year

Funding: Series A funding of $2.5m with Series B plans for May 2020


Director: Carol Mansour

Starring: Aida Abboud, Carol Mansour

Rating: 3.5./5

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

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