How many of us really take care of our feet? You know, those things at the ends of our legs that never really get any attention. Sadly as with the majority of the western world we were taught from childhood that feet should be stuffed into shoes and forgotten about. We learn what it feels like to walk, run, skip and jump about with our feet fully covered up, therefore never really learning the real feeling at all. I’m not saying that we should all take our shoes off and start walking and running about barefoot on a daily basis, modern practicality simply doesn’t allow it. What I am saying is that we should all be more aware of our feet, what they do for us, how we can take care of them and how much they affect the rest of our body.
‘When our feet hurt, we hurt all over’ SOCRATES
Surprisingly many people don’t experience pain directly in their feet when there is a problem there, instead the pain is transferred to the body, mainly the knees, hips, back and neck as when the feet aren’t right the body has to work twice as hard to keep the body balanced and upright and even then, with bad feet you’re highly likely to suffer from bad posture making you appear shorter and wider than you probably are!
Did you know that 80% of people over 40 will suffer from bodily distortions such as a hump due to their feet rolling in (pronation) or out (supination) resulting in fatigue and sometimes pain
Most runners take their feet entirely for granted but without a healthy pair of feet running would be a very hard thing to accomplish! When running the body weight is multiplied by up to 3 times and with over 1000 strides being taken for every mile that is an awful lot of stress to cope with. It’s no wonder that runners and sportspeople in general have a multitude of feet problems to put up with; achilles tendonitis, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis to name a few.
- An amazing 25% of the bodies bones are in your feet – each foot contains 26 bones!
- Each foot contains 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles!
- Your feet contain about a quarter of a million sweat glands and can excrete as much as half a pint of moisture every single day – that’s 2 espresso cups per foot!
- On average a person takes 10,000 steps every single day, enough to walk around the globe 4 times in your lifetime!
- Women walk approximately 3 miles more than men everyday – go girls!
So……..what can we do?
There are some real common sense rules to think of when it comes to our feet. Firstly make sure we wear properly fitted shoes, keep them clean and in good condition and keep them flexible! The following are some good stretches and techniques to keep your feet in tip-top condition:
Kneeling – with a blanket underneath you for comfort come into a kneeling position and then slowly sit back onto the heels. If you experience discomfort try a block under your buttocks. This is great for stretching the top part of the foot. Repeat this process but next time with the toes tucked under so that you stretch the bottom of the feet. This can be quite intense so take your time when beginning.
Squat – with your feet flat on the floor come into as low a squat as you can manage. Initially this might take a bit of practice with your balance but persevere because this is a great way of strengthening the lower legs, toes and feet.
Air Alphabet – no I don’t want you to write the alphabet literally with your feet! Sitting in a chair simply point one foot out in front of you and visualise the alphabet in your mind. Use your foot and ankle (not your leg!) to “write” the letters of the alphabet in the air then repeat on the opposite side. This is fantastic for ankle flexibility and strength and utilises every joint you have in your feet!
Go Barefoot! – we weren’t born with shoes on our feet so once in a while get back down to nature and take off your shoes! Besides from feeling wonderful it is actually beneficial to the musculoskeletal structure of your feet and ankles, and therefore your whole body!
There are so many ways to take care of your feet that can benefit your health and body and also some wonderful yoga postures and balances but I can’t possibly give away all of my secrets on here…..
Wishing you many happy healthy feet days!