Think of your feet as the foundation of your whole body. Without a strong foundation the house crumbles, and so will you if you neglect your feet! The feet contain 25% of the bones in our whole body and we derive the greatest amount of sensory input from our feet.
Many people don’t pay enough attention to their feet (especially men), and there are many reasons why you should! Core stabilization starts with the feet, and the maintenance of posture relies on the proprioceptive input from the sole of the foot, the sacroiliac joint, and the cervical spine (Roger, Page and Takeshima Balance Training for the Older Athlete Int J of Sports Physical Therapy. 2013 August; 8(4): 517-530).
So think of the feet as an integrated part of your whole body that need to be in good shape to support the movement and load you put on them every day. Taking care of your feet from the inside out includes toe and ankle mobilizations, self-myofacial release, and addressing any foot disease, calluses, corns, blisters, and warts. Keep your feet moisturized and toenails trimmed to avoid ingrown toenail issues. For those that suffer foot cramps, rolling the sole of your foot with a small ball to release trigger points can do wonders to decrease their incidence and intensity.
If our feet are locked up from a movement perspective and we can’t feel the ground we walk on, then the sensory input our brain uses to control balance and posture is affected. Examine your feet and consider paying them a little more attention this month. I suggest you invest in health care professionals that are like-minded in their thinking to work with your needs and goals. Treating yourself to a professional pedicure would be a good way to start paying your feet the attention they deserve! Seniors and diabetics should get their f00t and toenail care done by a podiatrist to decrease the risks associated with cuts they may impose upon themselves. There are many easy exercises that you can do at home to improve your toe and ankle mobility. Seek out a certified personal trainer to get things moving better in no time!
Recent research on barefoot training and running seems to agree that some barefoot training should be included in most warm-ups in some form or fashion. The benefits of running barefoot are there if time and distance are introduced gradually. “Do not run before you can walk,” warns Gary Allen Ward in his podcast, “What the Foot? ” available for free on iTunes.
I suggest you delve more into the controversy of using orthotics for foot/movement correction, and the use of minimalist shoes or barefoot training if this could benefit you.
Looking at your feet differently can help you in ways that you may have never thought about until now like your core. The truth is your whole body will benefit from your new happy feet!
Listen to Sheila’s podcast from last week on CKNW 980 am and tune in next week to hear her speak on the knee with Jon McComb.
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