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RuPaul speaks about society and the state of drag as performance art

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Few artists ever penetrate the subconscious level of American culture the way RuPaul Andre Charles did with the 1993 album Supermodel of the World. It was groundbreaking not only because in the midst of the Grunge phenomenon did Charles have a dance hit on MTV, but because he did it as RuPaul, formerly known as Starbooty, a supermodel drag queen with a message: love everyone. A duet with Elton John, an endorsement deal with MAC cosmetics, an eponymous talk show on VH-1 and roles in film propelled RuPaul into the new millennium.

In July, RuPaul’s movie Starrbooty began playing at film festivals and it is set to be released on DVD October 31st. Wikinews reporter David Shankbone recently spoke with RuPaul by telephone in Los Angeles, where she is to appear on stage for DIVAS Simply Singing!, a benefit for HIV-AIDS.

DS: How are you doing?

RP: Everything is great. I just settled into my new hotel room in downtown Los Angeles. I have never stayed downtown, so I wanted to try it out. L.A. is one of those traditional big cities where nobody goes downtown, but they are trying to change that.

DS: How do you like Los Angeles?

RP: I love L.A. I’m from San Diego, and I lived here for six years. It took me four years to fall in love with it and then those last two years I had fallen head over heels in love with it. Where are you from?

DS: Me? I’m from all over. I have lived in 17 cities, six states and three countries.

RP: Where were you when you were 15?

DS: Georgia, in a small town at the bottom of Fulton County called Palmetto.

RP: When I was in Georgia I went to South Fulton Technical School. The last high school I ever went to was…actually, I don’t remember the name of it.

DS: Do you miss Atlanta?

RP: I miss the Atlanta that I lived in. That Atlanta is long gone. It’s like a childhood friend who underwent head to toe plastic surgery and who I don’t recognize anymore. It’s not that I don’t like it; I do like it. It’s just not the Atlanta that I grew up with. It looks different because it went through that boomtown phase and so it has been transient. What made Georgia Georgia to me is gone. The last time I stayed in a hotel there my room was overlooking a construction site, and I realized the building that was torn down was a building that I had seen get built. And it had been torn down to build a new building. It was something you don’t expect to see in your lifetime.

DS: What did that signify to you?

RP: What it showed me is that the mentality in Atlanta is that much of their history means nothing. For so many years they did a good job preserving. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a preservationist. It’s just an interesting observation.

DS: In 2004 when you released your third album, Red Hot, it received a good deal of play in the clubs and on dance radio, but very little press coverage. On your blog you discussed how you felt betrayed by the entertainment industry and, in particular, the gay press. What happened?

RP: Well, betrayed might be the wrong word. ‘Betrayed’ alludes to an idea that there was some kind of a promise made to me, and there never was. More so, I was disappointed. I don’t feel like it was a betrayal. Nobody promises anything in show business and you understand that from day one.
But, I don’t know what happened. It seemed I couldn’t get press on my album unless I was willing to play into the role that the mainstream press has assigned to gay people, which is as servants of straight ideals.

DS: Do you mean as court jesters?

RP: Not court jesters, because that also plays into that mentality. We as humans find it easy to categorize people so that we know how to feel comfortable with them; so that we don’t feel threatened. If someone falls outside of that categorization, we feel threatened and we search our psyche to put them into a category that we feel comfortable with. The mainstream media and the gay press find it hard to accept me as…just…

DS: Everything you are?

RP: Everything that I am.

DS: It seems like years ago, and my recollection might be fuzzy, but it seems like I read a mainstream media piece that talked about how you wanted to break out of the RuPaul ‘character’ and be seen as more than just RuPaul.

RP: Well, RuPaul is my real name and that’s who I am and who I have always been. There’s the product RuPaul that I have sold in business. Does the product feel like it’s been put into a box? Could you be more clear? It’s a hard question to answer.

DS: That you wanted to be seen as more than just RuPaul the drag queen, but also for the man and versatile artist that you are.

RP: That’s not on target. What other people think of me is not my business. What I do is what I do. How people see me doesn’t change what I decide to do. I don’t choose projects so people don’t see me as one thing or another. I choose projects that excite me. I think the problem is that people refuse to understand what drag is outside of their own belief system. A friend of mine recently did the Oprah show about transgendered youth. It was obvious that we, as a culture, have a hard time trying to understand the difference between a drag queen, transsexual, and a transgender, yet we find it very easy to know the difference between the American baseball league and the National baseball league, when they are both so similar. We’ll learn the difference to that. One of my hobbies is to research and go underneath ideas to discover why certain ones stay in place while others do not. Like Adam and Eve, which is a flimsy fairytale story, yet it is something that people believe; what, exactly, keeps it in place?

DS: What keeps people from knowing the difference between what is real and important, and what is not?

RP: Our belief systems. If you are a Christian then your belief system doesn’t allow for transgender or any of those things, and you then are going to have a vested interest in not understanding that. Why? Because if one peg in your belief system doesn’t work or doesn’t fit, the whole thing will crumble. So some people won’t understand the difference between a transvestite and transsexual. They will not understand that no matter how hard you force them to because it will mean deconstructing their whole belief system. If they understand Adam and Eve is a parable or fairytale, they then have to rethink their entire belief system.
As to me being seen as whatever, I was more likely commenting on the phenomenon of our culture. I am creative, and I am all of those things you mention, and doing one thing out there and people seeing it, it doesn’t matter if people know all that about me or not.

DS: Recently I interviewed Natasha Khan of the band Bat for Lashes, and she is considered by many to be one of the real up-and-coming artists in music today. Her band was up for the Mercury Prize in England. When I asked her where she drew inspiration from, she mentioned what really got her recently was the 1960’s and 70’s psychedelic drag queen performance art, such as seen in Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis, The Cockettes and Paris Is Burning. What do you think when you hear an artist in her twenties looking to that era of drag performance art for inspiration?

RP: The first thing I think of when I hear that is that young kids are always looking for the ‘rock and roll’ answer to give. It’s very clever to give that answer. She’s asked that a lot: “Where do you get your inspiration?” And what she gave you is the best sound bite she could; it’s a really a good sound bite. I don’t know about Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis, but I know about The Cockettes and Paris Is Burning. What I think about when I hear that is there are all these art school kids and when they get an understanding of how the press works, and how your sound bite will affect the interview, they go for the best.

DS: You think her answer was contrived?

RP: I think all answers are really contrived. Everything is contrived; the whole world is an illusion. Coming up and seeing kids dressed in Goth or hip hop clothes, when you go beneath all that, you have to ask: what is that really? You understand they are affected, pretentious. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s how we see things. I love Paris Is Burning.

DS: Has the Iraq War affected you at all?

RP: Absolutely. It’s not good, I don’t like it, and it makes me want to enjoy this moment a lot more and be very appreciative. Like when I’m on a hike in a canyon and it smells good and there aren’t bombs dropping.

DS: Do you think there is a lot of apathy in the culture?

RP: There’s apathy, and there’s a lot of anti-depressants and that probably lends a big contribution to the apathy. We have iPods and GPS systems and all these things to distract us.

DS: Do you ever work the current political culture into your art?

RP: No, I don’t. Every time I bat my eyelashes it’s a political statement. The drag I come from has always been a critique of our society, so the act is defiant in and of itself in a patriarchal society such as ours. It’s an act of treason.

DS: What do you think of young performance artists working in drag today?

RP: I don’t know of any. I don’t know of any. Because the gay culture is obsessed with everything straight and femininity has been under attack for so many years, there aren’t any up and coming drag artists. Gay culture isn’t paying attention to it, and straight people don’t either. There aren’t any drag clubs to go to in New York. I see more drag clubs in Los Angeles than in New York, which is so odd because L.A. has never been about club culture.

DS: Michael Musto told me something that was opposite of what you said. He said he felt that the younger gays, the ones who are up-and-coming, are over the body fascism and more willing to embrace their feminine sides.

RP: I think they are redefining what femininity is, but I still think there is a lot of negativity associated with true femininity. Do boys wear eyeliner and dress in skinny jeans now? Yes, they do. But it’s still a heavily patriarchal culture and you never see two men in Star magazine, or the Queer Eye guys at a premiere, the way you see Ellen and her girlfriend—where they are all, ‘Oh, look how cute’—without a negative connotation to it. There is a definite prejudice towards men who use femininity as part of their palette; their emotional palette, their physical palette. Is that changing? It’s changing in ways that don’t advance the cause of femininity. I’m not talking frilly-laced pink things or Hello Kitty stuff. I’m talking about goddess energy, intuition and feelings. That is still under attack, and it has gotten worse. That’s why you wouldn’t get someone covering the RuPaul album, or why they say people aren’t tuning into the Katie Couric show. Sure, they can say ‘Oh, RuPaul’s album sucks’ and ‘Katie Couric is awful’; but that’s not really true. It’s about what our culture finds important, and what’s important are things that support patriarchal power. The only feminine thing supported in this struggle is Pamela Anderson and Jessica Simpson, things that support our patriarchal culture.
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IMF and EU approve aid for Georgia

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The International Monetary Fund and the European Union approved aid packages to help Georgia recover from its conflict with Russia, which occurred in early August. The IMF approved a US$750 million loan which will allow Georgia to rebuild its currency reserves. The European Union also approved an aid package of 500 million in aid by 2010, which is expected to help internally displaced people (IDPs) and economic recovery in the form of new infrastructure. Only €100 million of the EU aid will be given to Georgia this year.

These loans are aimed to restore confidence in Georgia’s economy and send a signal to international investors that Georgia’s economy is sound. According to the IMF, international investors have been “critical to Georgia’s economic growth in recent years.”

Takatoshi Kato, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chairman of the IMF executive committee, said the loan will “make significant resources available to replenish international reserves and bolster investor confidence, with the aim of sustaining private capital inflows that have been critical to Georgia’s economic growth in recent years.”

Georgia has requested $2 billion in international aid to help it recover from the conflict. So far, the United States has pledged $1 billion in aid. Further assistance and loans to Georgia are expected from other organizations. Kato noted that “…Georgia is expected to receive financial assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors and creditors in support of the reconstruction effort.” It is expected that an international donors’ conference will take place next month to solicit more aid for the country.

Georgia’s government expects that economic growth will be more than cut in half as a result of the conflict. Last year, Georgia’s GDP increased 12.4% and it is predicted by the IMF that growth will be less than 4 percent in the coming year.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=IMF_and_EU_approve_aid_for_Georgia&oldid=3031841”
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The Abc S Of Q &Amp; A Sessions In Public Speaking

The Abc S Of Q &Amp; A Sessions In Public Speaking

Submitted by: James Masterson

During presentations, it is the question and answer part that serves as a good occasion to know how much the audience understood or how much they did not understand from all of that speaking you did. It is also the best opportunity to be able to show your sense of humor, if you have one. Also, the question and answer portion is a good means to get your audience to participate.

The most used way, if not the most boring one, to open up the question and answer portion is: are there any questions? Or, Now let s take in questions.

To make the presentation more fun for them as well as for you, as the presenter, to appear you are enjoying your time and are also having fun, why don t you try saying this as a way to open up the session on question and answer: The last presentation I had, the first question I received was, `Aren t you tired yet? and `Do you have the time?

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In order for you to continually captivate your audience, you should as much as possible try to do something different from the regular presentations people do. It is also a good idea if you prepare for the question and answer part. Try to spend time thinking of the possible questions some people in your audience may ask after your presentation. Now that you have a fairly good idea, create some good natured humor to go along with your answers. Use these before you provide the answer that is serious and real.

The audience will think best of you if you provide them with a witty remark that in their opinion seems spontaneous and does not appear rehearsed, even if it is.

But what if no one dares ask the first question? This problem will be automatically solved by planting this time rehearsed questions on some members of the audience.

What you could do is to select some people from the audience and ask them ever so politely to assist you with your post-presentation session. You may ask them as you are researching for the profile of the audience you will be presenting to or while you are warming up to them prior to the program. If in case they agree to being your accomplice, request that they raise their hand when you open up the session on question and answer. This is the time that they will be asking you that pseudo-question.

The question you will ask them to ask serves two purposes: to break the ice through humor and encourage others to ask their own serious questions, or that they should be amused enough to stay still and listen until the end of your presentation.

About the Author: James Masterson is Stand out, Be Recognized and Be Remembered keynote speaker. Click Here To read his latest advice




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2008 Taipei Game Show review: Variations differ from past years

Friday, February 1, 2008

The 2008 Taipei Game Show, organized by the Taipei Computer Association (TCA), ended on Monday, and was different from shows of past years. This could be seen in the gaming population, industry, and exhibition arrangements.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=2008_Taipei_Game_Show_review:_Variations_differ_from_past_years&oldid=585665”
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<div class=Ukraine opposition candidate Yushchenko is suffering from a Dioxin intoxication, doctors say
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Ukraine opposition candidate Yushchenko is suffering from a Dioxin intoxication, doctors say

Saturday, December 11, 2004

VIENNA —Doctors from the Rudolfinerhaus clinic in Vienna say “there is no doubt” Ukrainian opposition leader Victor Yushchenko was poisoned with Dioxin.

Yushchenko’s body had about 1,000 times more than the normal concentration of the toxin. It is unknown if there were any other poisons in his system.

Although it has not yet been proven that the poisoning was deliberate, doctors suspect it was. “We suspect a cause triggered by a third party,” said Michael Zimpfer, head doctor at the Rudolfinerhaus clinic. He suggested the poison may have been administered orally, through food or drink.

Today’s announcements are a follow-up of an earlier press conference, where Dr. Korpan that there were three hypotheses under consideration, one of them involving dioxin. He did not reveal what the other two hypotheses were. Dr. Michael Zimpfer, director of the Rudolfinerhaus clinic emphasized that time there was no proof yet to specify the substance causing the illness.

Yushchenko left Kiev on Friday (2004-10-12) for further examination in Vienna. When Yushchenko fell ill on October 6th, Ukrainian doctors had initially diagnosed food poisoning, leading to speculation that he had been poisoned deliberately. The illness has disfigured Yushchenko’s body and face which doctors say could take up to two years to heal.

He fell seriously ill on the September 6th, during his presidential campaign. Yushchenko was taken to the Rudolfinerhaus clinic of Vienna, where he stayed for four days under Dr. Korpan’s care. He was diagnosed with “acute pancreatitis, accompanied by interstitial edematous changes.” These symptoms were said to be due to “a serious viral infection and chemical substances which are not normally found in food products” as his campaign officials put it. In laymans terms, he developed an infection in the pancreas and got a bad skin condition that disfigured his face with cysts and lesions. The skin condition has similarities with the chloracne associated with dioxin posioning according to a British toxicologist John Henry.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Ukraine_opposition_candidate_Yushchenko_is_suffering_from_a_Dioxin_intoxication,_doctors_say&oldid=4583368”
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Iran’s morality police crack down on un-Islamic dress

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Iranian police forces have faced criticism from Ayatollah Hashemi Shahrudi, the head of the judiciary who was appointed by Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for their re-invigorated campaign to do away with un-Islamic dress.

Ayatollah Shahroudi proclaimed, “Tough measures on social problems will backfire and have counter-productive effects.” Others have, of course, made it clear that un-Islamic dress can lead to moral corruption, engender innumerable vices, and hurt the Islamic character of the nation.

Some believe that no one had any issue with the creation of an Islamic atmosphere. The core of the matter revolves around the implementation of the Islamic dress code; additionally, heavy-handed measures should be shunned. For instance, Mehdi Ahmadi, information head of Tehran’s police, told Al Jazeera: “Some citizens may complain about the way the law is being enforced but they all agree with the plan itself.”

According to one student, “You simply can’t tell people what to wear. They don’t understand that use of force only brings hatred towards them, not love.” Nevertheless, Hojatoll-Islam Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, Iran’s interior minister who is in charge of policing, prognosticated positive feedback from the populace when he said, “People are unhappy with the social and moral status of the society. They expect that the fight against social insecurity be properly implemented.” Thus, Hujjat al-Islam Pour-Mohammadi re-iterated the necessity of proper implementation and methodology towards the restoration of morality in the Islamic Republic. Islamic officials and religious people affirm that this is indispensable to promote righteousness, curb sin, and bring open sinners to justice.

Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, hijab became mandatory in Iran for every woman including foreigners after over 98% of citizens voted for an Islamic government. Women may face caning up to 74 strokes for failing to observe hijab. In this recent crackdown, the authorities have arrested many citizens throughout the country. Not only have women been taken into custody for their hair being uncovered on their foreheads and tight clothes that show body shapes, For men they need to cover from knee to their waist as according to Sharia. Even a foreign journalist was detained because the photograph on her press card was indecent.

It has not been clear whence the directive for the re-newed clampdown emanated. Some have blamed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while Gholam Hossein Elham, the government spokesman, stated to reporters, “The police work as agents of the judiciary to confront crimes. The government as an executive body does not interfere in the affairs of the judiciary.” The following pre-election speech seems to corroborate this latter statement:

In reality, is the problem of our people the shape of the hair of our children? Let our children arrange their hair any way they wish. It doesn’t concern me and you. Let you and me overhaul the basic problems of the nation. The government should fix the economy of the nation and improve its atmosphere…[It should] better psychological security and support the people. People have variegated tastes. As if now the arch obstacle of our nation is the arrangement of our kids’ hair and the government disallowing them <He chuckles>. Is this the government’s responsibility? Is this the people’s merit? In actuality, this is the denigration of our people. Why do you underestimate and belittle the people? It is the real issue of our nation that one of our daughters donned a certain dress? Is this the issue of our nation and the problem of our nation?
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Lower Back Pain?  Go Ahead, Blame Your Chair

Lower Back Pain? Go Ahead, Blame Your Chair

By C Simmons

Did you know one of the biggest health issues plaguing office workers is lower back pain? Why would this condition most would attribute to lifting heavy objects be such a prominent condition among those working in an office environment? If you are sitting down reading this, look no further than right behind you. Office chairs are not designed to give proper support during use. They are designed to provide a place to sit, however uncomfortably, and at the least cost possible.

Your boss’ big comfy chair is more suited to provide adequate support on those long days meeting with current or potential clients, reading through reports, or talking on the phone to a facilities manager in China for two hours. Well guess what, he is the boss so he is entitled to that $2000 chair that massages, heats, cools, and probably dispenses coffee from a tap in the arm. We have all tried to sit up straighter and take the occasional stretch break, but by the end of the day, even a Monday, we all find ourselves slouched over our keyboard wondering if 5pm is ever going to come.

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I speak of this problem somewhat farcically but it is definitely a real problem throughout the office world. There are all kinds of expensive classes you can take to help with posture and breathing: Tai Chi, Qigong, Alexander technique. While very helpful, these classes are quite expensive and time consuming. Why not fix the problem at its origin? If not, you will have invested all that time and money only to step into that office and sit down in the same uncomfortable chair that started the pain. Something as simple as a lumbar pillow can make a world of difference to an old uncomfortable chair. For the same price as a weekend of breathing exercises and posture techniques you could have a permanent solution to a recurring problem. A well manufactured chair with a built-in lumbar support can turn a long, painful week behind a desk into a long, productive week behind a desk. I am sorry to say a new chair won’t make the job any easier, but it will leave you feeling a little more rejuvenated by the time 5 o’clock rolls around.

Of course, one cannot rely on a lumbar support to fix all the problems inherent with slouching at a computer all day. The extra support acts more like a posture aide than a ‘fix-all’. However, think about this: In order to keep correct posture, especially while sitting, your abdominals (along with other key core muscles) must tighten to hold you up. So, while you help minimize your lower back pain, you are also getting a pretty solid abdominal workout. Pretty good deal if you ask me, especially if you spend 4+ hours a day sitting at a desk. That’s 20 hours a week you will spend doing mild abdominal and core exercises along with keeping your back straighter and healthier. Bet you wouldn’t expect a six pack from crunching numbers all day would you?

About the Author: Chris is marketing director for

Ultimate Sleep

who specializes in 100% natural latex and other comfort products to help customers find relief from fatigue, back and joint pain, and sleep disorders.



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<div class=Israeli PM Ariel Sharon briefly opens eyes
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Israeli PM Ariel Sharon briefly opens eyes

Monday, January 16, 2006

Israeli media is reporting that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon opened his eyes for the first time since he suffered a major stroke on January 4, 2006.

However, hospital officials said the reports were generated by the Sharon family’s “impression of eyelid movement, whose medical significance is unclear.”

“He was listening to a tape of his grandson and you could see tears in his eyes for a matter of seconds before he closed them again,” a doctor treating Sharon told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

Army Radio, citing unidentified close associates of Sharon, say the Prime Minister could “recognize people around him.”

However, hospital officials state that it is “too early to tell whether the development represented a significant improvement or was just a temporary reflex.”

Sharon had undergone a tracheotomy on Sunday to help with his breathing and to help prevent infection from his respirator tube.

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Tennis star Sharapova out of Olympics

Friday, August 1, 2008

International tennis star Maria Sharapova will miss the 2008 Beijing Olympics because of a shoulder injury sustained during the WTA Rogers Open in Montreal, Canada.

Sharapova, 21, defeated Poland’s Marta Domachowska during the second round of the Open, but was in pain during the three-hour match.

“This is something that needs a lot of time to heal. It really hurts me to say I have to miss the Olympics,” she said on her official website, according to the BBC. “After Wednesday’s match I knew there was something seriously wrong with my shoulder.””There are so many mixed feelings because on Wednesday night they were almost positive there was something wrong with my nerve, which could have ultimately been much more serious,” Sharapova said, according to The Daily Telegraph. “But after Thursday morning’s tests, for the first time in a while, they were able to give me a different answer and a different problem. This is something that needs a lot of time to heal. It really hurts me to say I have to miss the Olympics.”

The Associated Press reports that Sharapova, three-time Grand Slam champion, has has two small tears in tendons in her shoulder, discovered through an MRI exam and other medical tests.

The tennis section of the Olympics will start on August 11 and run through to August 15. The U.S. Open tournament will start Aug. 25 and the Associated Press reports that Sharapova may also miss that tournament.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Sharapova joins former world No 1 and Athens Olympic silver medalist Amelie Mauresmo and fellow French star Mary Pierce on a list of tennis players not competing in the 2008 Olympics.

The Kommersant reported Friday that Elena Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dinara Safina will play for Russia in Beijing.

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Two Reasons To See A Podiatrist In Kenosha, Wi

Two Reasons To See A Podiatrist In Kenosha, Wi

February, 2017 byadmin

Foot and ankle problems happen for a wide range of reasons such as chronic medical conditions or injuries. Medical conditions include arthritis and diabetes while an injury may happen at any time. In fact, simple overuse or poorly-fitted shoes can cause serious problems not just with your feet but also with your lower back. You are likely to get a speedier diagnosis and treatment recommendations from a podiatrist. These professionals provide a wide range of medical care for issues of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. With their help, you can get swift diagnosis, treatment, and even surgery, depending on your needs.

Regular Running

Runners are particularly prone to aches and pains, such as shin splints. A podiatrist in Kenosha, WI can assess your body and feet to catch potential problems and recommend strategies to help prevent them from occurring. He or she can also recommend the best type of athletic shoe for your foot, which can dramatically improve your posture and footing while running. The right shoes can balance your feet and promote lower levels of pain as you increase your running habit.Your Kenosha podiatrist will work through the options with you and help you make the best decisions for your needs.

Joint Pain

Arthritis is one of the most common conditions affecting Americans today. If you begin to notice swelling, redness, stiffness, or tenderness when moving your feet, you may need to see a podiatrist. Arthritis can change the way the feet function and lead to lasting disability, but a professional can suggest gentle and cost-effective treatments that may preserve joint health and make it easier for you to enjoy day-to-day activities. Arthritis may not be something you can avoid but it can be easier to handle with the help of the right professional.