Celebrity elephants are pampered like no other animal. They get a daily bath where they are scrubbed down thoroughly with a bar of soap and brush since their skin is so sensitive. Their ears, eyes and trunk are thoroughly checked with a TB test done on them once a week, too.
But did you know that an elephant’s feet are just like yours – sensitive?
I had the privilege to speak with animal trainer of Bertha, the celebrity elephant who worked with Liberace, Barbara Eden, and other big names in show business in the 1960s through the 1980s in Reno at the Nugget. David Loria told me all about his life as a trainer for a few years.
I was surprised to find out that Bertha, weighing in at 11,000 pounds was more than just a celebrity on the stage. She was a social butterfly making appearances at parties and events throughout Reno and traveled to other states as well. When she was out on these events, she would have to walk down the streets of the cities and small towns. And that’s when her feet problems started.
You see, Bertha, like other elephants, shuffles her feet when she walks. This ends up resulting in uneven wear and tear on the soles of her feet, and potential blisters, calluses, and other foot problems.
Do you shuffle your feet when you walk? Some people do. Check the bottom of your shoes for signs of uneven wear. You might find that the outer part of the shoe is wearing through long before the inside or medial part of the insole. This tells us that you are rotating your foot upwards when walking, or oversupinating it – and it leads to foot problems down the road. A pair of orthotics insoles can help a lot to remedy the situation.
Similarly, you could be overpronating your foot while walking as well. That would result in the medial part of the shoe wearing out faster than the outside lateral part.
The team of animal trainers of Bertha knew they had to do something about Bertha shuffling her feet when she walked on the paved streets. But what would they do – she’s an elephant. Do you tell her to stop walking unevenly? Would she or anyone with the problem be able to correct it themselves? No, that wouldn’t happen.
So her trainers called in the experts on orthotic insoles for elephants. They created leather shoes for her, which were essentially leather insoles that could cushion her feet when she walked. Why did they choose leather insoles? Because leather insoles are just about as natural to the feet as you could get. And Bertha needed only the best.
They were reinforced with steel to withstand the tons of weight that Bertha put on her feet during the act of walking. Bertha’s shoes enabled her to walk for long distances without any foot problems developing. The trainers believed her orthotics insoles and shoes were a great investment, too.
Humans can purchase many different types of orthotic insoles to add to their shoes to increase the comfort of the feet in every step taken. For example, Pedag makes leather insoles and in fact, its best selling leather insole is the Viva-Mini (Holiday) Leather Insole. It’s probably a best seller because it prevents overpronation with its orthotic arch support and metatarsal pad. Both these help you walk straighter so you don’t end up twisting or turning your foot as you walk.
Pedag also makes Viva Leather Orthotic Insoles that are ideal when you have to support your arch and forefoot and have pain in these parts of your feet. Their leather insoles are made of vegetable-tanned leather and also contain an active carbon filter to decrease the chance that bacteria on your feet will cause foot odor.
Hey, if Bertha benefited from orthotic insoles, leather insoles that were built into her shoes, you could too; don’t you think so?