Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers – Factoid #6

MMMmmm… the smell of new shoes is one of those things that rank right up there with glue, gas and permanent markers! And nothing in this world can make or break your day like the fit of a pair of shoes. Too tight, and you’re as cross as a bear. Too loose and you feel like a clown escapee from Ringling Bros. But a nice pair of shoes that fit just right can boost your confidence and energy level into overdrive and make you feel invincible!

But how do you get that perfect fit? My mom always smashed my big toe with her thumb and told me to wiggle it to see if I had room, but how ’bout this….

shoe-fitting fluoroscope full viewshoe-fitting fluorscope top

I sit true that X-rays were once carried out in shoes shops?

It is ironic that X-rays can both cause cancer and be used to treat it. Nowadays, with the use of very small doses of radiation to produce high-quality X-ray images, the risk of cancer after properly supervised X-ray examinations is extremely small.

Between the 1930s and 1950s, a device called the shoe-fitting fluoroscope was a common fixture in shoe shops. It was a unit that usually consisted of a vertical wooden cabinet with an opening near the bottom into which the feet were placed. When you looked through the viewing holes on the top of the cabinet you would see a fluorescent image of the bones of the feet and the outline of the shoes. When the feet were in the shoe-fitting fluoroscope, the customer was effectively standing on top of an X-ray tube. The fluoroscope helped to measure shoe size and tested the fit of a new pair of shoes. When it was realized that X-rays could be harmful, the use of the fluoroscope declined.

The fluoroscope was widely used by doctors to view inside the body. X-rays were also used to shrink infected tonsils, and thousands of children received this treatment. Decades later, it was realized that this treatment could cause thyroid cancer.

“Um, Mr. Bundy? Should I have a sixth toe suddenly start growing after my last shoe fitting?”

Yeah, I think I’ll stick to my mom’s way….

This post is part of the Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter at the original post for your official entry. Comments here count as a bonus entry 😀


11 Responses

  1. I saw a show about fluoroscopes on The History Channel not too long ago. Amazing how so many things that seemed harmless or even helpful back then really weren’t.

  2. It’s a great idea if it didn’t harm you…but very interesting. I have not heard of this before. And your mom’s way of fitting shoes was mine as well! 🙂


  3. …and makes you wonder what else we’re using today that will kill us eventually.

  4. it is a bit of a creepy thought…wondering what it harmful to us now. too bad something like this DIDN’T help people in the long run.

  5. Don’t get me wrong – I love shoes – but for me the best way to find a comfortable shoe is to try them on and walk around the store. IMO even with the x-ray a shoe may still be uncomfortable.

  6. My 81 year old mother had her thyroid gland destroyed by X-rays as a child.

  7. That is ironic… and oooh, I do love the smell of markers 😛

  8. Yeah – I don’t think xraying my feet would solve my shoe issues. Gotta walk around in them for awhile to see if they hurt. Would hurt more though, I suppose, to have the xray actually do damage on top of NOT getting the right shoe fit!

  9. Yeah. While I appreciate a good shoe fit, I think I’ll stick with wiggling my toes. It seems to me, though, that a similar device could be constructed that didn’t cause cancer. Hmm . . . to the laboratory!

  10. i never understood why the old magazine ads for x-ray specs would allow you to see under people’s clothes but not through them..

  11. Shoe Fitting Fluoroscopes got a bad rap.. My family owned a family shoe store in West Va. and every pair of shoes that I ever got were checked for proper fit in our Adrain X ray machine untill they were banned in 1964. I am a 75 year old female and also worked part time in the store from when I was 14 -25. Every pair of shoes we sold were checked in the x – ray machine unless they were open toe sandals. When I was working I had at leat 12 – 15 indirect exposures per day and double that on Saturdays. I probably had at least a few hundred direct exposures becasue I would always try on new styles and X – ray my feet in them to see how true to size they ran. There was no doubt about proper fit because you could see if the shoes were the right shape for the customers foot and you could see if the bones of the feet were properly aligned inside the shoes and see if the shoes were too long, short, narrow or wide. X – ray fitting guranteed perfect fit and all day comfort. After probably thousands of exposures I am in perfect health with no ill effects at all. I had three children who are now in their 50’s and are all healthy. Maybe i am just lucky but I don’t beleive these machines were harmful to anyone. Ithink banning them was the beginning of political correctness. By the way my mom and dad are still alive, and in good health for being in their late 90’s.

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