12 Gifts to Give to Your Feet
As wonderful as it is to give to others if you do not give health to yourself first you will not have the ability to give a lot to others.
There are so many levels to having optimum health and fitness and unless we breakdown your specific goals and make a plan we run the risk of simply not taking the right steps to achieve them.
Many individuals want to do more than they are physically capable of doing with safe, confident movement. Last week Brianna Kelly, Strength Coach at t’s time! Fitness Results addressed how to start the season “fit to ski.” If you are a skier and missed this segment I suggest you take a read. I especially liked the warm-up she created that you can do with your boots on and poles in hand!
Although with the best of intentions many folks skip right to activities like running, skiing, golfing and tennis because they are so enjoyable. Often, they lack the foundational movement skills that would decrease the risk of injury and improve the quality of the experience on many levels during and after with improved recovery.
In his e-book Fitness coach, writer, and pod-caster Scott Iradella reminds us that if we “move better, and then move stronger, everything else will follow. Iradella states that many people skip the foundations to chase the aesthetic goals. I add in here “sports” goals as well. Whether your sport is for pleasure and recreational purposes, or competitive in nature it’s the love of the sport that drives the activity, not necessarily the quality of the movement!
In her book “Move Your DNA, Restore Your Natural Health Through Natural Movement,” one of my favorite authors Katy Bowman writes that movement is not as optimal as we have led ourselves to believe if you are indeed thinking that fitness and sports will get you there. Bowman writes extensively on letting go of the notion that movement is exercise. To move your health forward she encourages us to rearrange the relationship between movement and exercise and incorporate movement skills 24/7, and then add exercise once the foundation is set.
With Scott Iradella’s permission this graphic gives a nice visual for you to think about. He writes, “No matter what your goals are (look better, feel better, or perform better) – we must work to improve our strength.” Building Strength on a poor foundation is asking for trouble so today we will start by looking at the feet as the foundation of movement when upright.
As I believe the feet are the foundation of your whole body and posture today I will start with a look at some of the reasons why giving to your feet is so important. 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. It’s no wonder that when things go wrong in the foot the pain is debilitating!
Anatomy Bit: Each foot has 28 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 tendons.
What kind of shoes have you wrapped those feet in over the years? Is it time to break them out and see what happens?
To put your best foot forward you must be continually trying to improve their condition whether you really want to or not. Inspecting your feet to see how they look, feel and move will give you some ideas on how you can improve them.
Visual Inspection: How do they look?
First: Address any foot disease (althete’s foot), calluses, corns, blisters, and warts. Do not put this off any longer if you se something that needs attention.
Take a look at your feet when standing barefoot in front of a mirror. Stand on one leg and watch what happens.
- Have your feet changed over the years?
- Do they turn in, out, or are they straight?
- Do you have an arch?
Anatomy Bit: Collapsed Arch or “neutral”? There are actually three arches in the foot and their presence or absence has a lot to do with your whole-body movement history. The medial longitudinal arch, lateral longitudinal arch, and the transverse arch are all part of your foot health.
Anatomy Bit: Pronation: This is excessive rolling in of the foot through its gait pattern. Some pronation is normal but an excessive amount can lead to flattening of the foot and loss of arches.
Anatomy Bit: Supination: This is the opposite of pronation and is the rolling outward of the foot through its gait pattern. Like pronation, some is normal but excessive supination can lead to unstable ankles and a tendency for rolling outward and spraining them.
Look at the wear and tear on your feet (and your shoes) and think about the connection with that to your overall movement. Do you continually get thick skin beside your big toe for example? Does that foot turn out by chance? Perhaps there is a connection!
How’s the color of your feet? Is there any swelling? If your circulation is impaired your pedal pulses will not be strong, the color will be grey, nails thickened, and there could be swelling after prolonged standing.
Movement Inspection: How do they move?
- Do you have ankle dorsiflexion (35-40′ toe towards shin) and plantar flexion (point toes away)? How much have you worn heels over the years?
- Can you rotate your ankles, invert (turn in) and evert (turn out) them?
- Can you move your great toe independent of the others? Can you control your great toes and move the others one by one?
- Do you have mobility in your great toe?
- Do both feet move the same?
Sensory Inspection: How do they Feel?
- Do you experience any cramping, pain or numbness or tingling in your feet?
- Do you have Acute and/or Chronic conditions such as foot pain, numbness, tingling, plantar fasciitis, neuromas, stress fractures, or bunions?
- What are the condition of your nails? Do you have good circulation of blood and warmth to your feet?
Plantar Fasciitis: The Plantar Fascia is a big piece of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from the ball to the heel. Inflammation and stiffness in this area can cause a lot of pain. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a garbage term because it encompasses such a large area and really doesn’t identify the cause of the inflammation.
Bunions: These bony prominences are a nuisance. There is so much about bunions I could do a whole show on them. There are things you can do to prevent them from getting worse. Many don’t agree that they are inherited. Start with the gifts outlined below for your feet.
12 Gifts for Your Feet: Start Putting Your Best Foot Forward!
Wherever your feet are today you can start giving them some love with these gifts. Undoing some of the damage they have received over the years from shoes, sports, injuries, and neglect! 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.
#1 Massage your feet before putting your socks on
Massage your feet with lotion every day before putting your socks on. Work your toes apart by spreading them and moving them around.
#2 Roll your feet with a small ball
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.
#3 Roll your calves with a small ball, stick, or foam roller
#4 Flex and extend your toes with support for balance
#5 Toe Movements: Spread your toes and lift your toes
#6 Stretch your calf with knee straight but not locked.
A rolled towel also works well for this!
#7 Stretch your calf with knee bent
#8 Stretch both calves together
Hinge your hips back without rounding your back. Weight shift from side to side a little to change the feel.
#9 Work on creating an arch and balancing on one foot.
Use support for safety of needed.
#10 Move your ankles side to side with your feet apart 10 times each side.
#11 Take a Look at Your Footwear
Too much or too little support? Are they too old? Do they have too much of a heel, could this be why your calves are so tight?
#12 Walking Foot Drills: Shoes On or Off preferably if safe for you.
Walk on the insides and outsides of your feet, on your toes, on your heels, pointing toes in as far as you can and out as far as you can.
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 foot 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!
Give your feet some of these gifts this season. I know they are going to love them!
Next week: Gifts for your knees.
Written by: Sheila Hamilton November 2017
Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic with Jon McComb on the “Fitness Segment,” which airs live every Thursday at 9:05 am CKNW 980am radio.
Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through natural Movement Katy Bowman copyright 2017 P. 22, 47, 78
Iradella Scott Peak Performance Blueprint e-book: High Qualilty Movment Graphic used with permission.
MPT, CSCS, CISSN, FMS, USAW, CACWC, CWPC
StrongFirst Team Leader
@RdellaTraining on Instagram
Bridging The Gaps In
& Injury Prevention
Author of The Edge of Strength
The “Top Rated” Fitness Podcast in iTunes
Named 8 Best Fitness Podcasts by Men’s Journal
The Rdella Training Podcast
The Scientific Strength Podcast
Becoming a Supple Leopard: Dr. Kelly Starrett Copyright 2015 P. 80-82, 447-431
Roger, Page and Takeshima Balance Training for the Older Athlete Int J of Sports Physical Therapy. 2013 August; 8(4): 517-530).
Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_3dagentur’>3dagentur / 123RF Stock Photo</a>