Our foot is made up of twenty-five percent of the body’s bones and muscles and have the potential to deform subtlety, sending valuable information to the body’s center of mass (located in the pelvis). The tiny stretches in between every one of each foot’s twenty-six bones are a gold mine of proprioception that allow the pelvis to make three-dimensional positional adjustments based on these tiny movements. Simply, your low back pain could be a better foot strike away!
Optimal foot health, however, has been compromised by the use of footwear over our lifetime. The limitations footwear places on motion of the foot (along with motion of the ankle, knee, hip and sacrum) are not equal across all types of shoes. The healthiest footwear is one that interferes little with your natural body movements. Barefoot is best but, like any health protocol, we need to take our time getting back there: little steps at a time has never been so punny and so true.
Before you go baring it all, keep in mind the supporting structures of the feet have been, for the most part, inert for the bulk of your life. Loading fresh arches on long walks after removing a lifetime of support can stress and strain tissues. It is important to think about building strength in the musculature of the feet just as we would with any other part of our body. Start with smaller doses of barefoot walking and make sure you do lots of foot stretching in between walking sessions. Pamper your feet, which will help them be happier as they cart you around: A coconut oil foot massage and nontoxic pedicure can be a mini-vacation.
Try some of these:
1. Trace your foot and put the pic next to your shoe
– How does your foot-shape compare to your shoe shape?
– How do you think this affects your feet?
– try some of the exercises below and redo the drawing next month and see how much you can change your foot shape thru movement!
2. Write your name with your foot. Ok now left footed!
There are two types of nerves in the feet: motor (those that tell the toes and feet to move) and sensory (those that the toes and feet feel the environment with). Let’s test each:
3. Test the motor nerves: Starting in standing position, have them see if they can:
– Lift your big toe by itself.
– Lift each other toe by itself.
– Spread the toes away from each other.
– Spread the toes away from each other without lifting them off the ground
4. Test the sensory nerves: Sensory nerves measure environmental factors like temperature and surface textures. Many people expose their feet ONLY to the sensation of socks, the same pair of shoes, and the flat surfaces inside their home. How can we remedy this?
– Create an indoor texture box or a clean space in your yard for texture walking. A cobblestone mat works too
– Collect items from around the house with various texture, like a washcloth, sandpaper, a toothbrush (of some unlucky person), some pebbles of various sizes, a set of silverware (to be washed before putting back, especially if you have me over for dinner), an ice cube and something warm. You’ll also need a blindfold. Can you guess?
Let’s just keep getting outta our shoes and into our feet.