Let's think Feet!

Do you really think about your feet that much?  Ask yourself if you pay attention to the shoes you put on or how your feet move when you walk or how much weight is actually on those feet? 

Recently I have been thinking of my feet a lot more, as I am suffering from Hallux Rigidus (or arthritis in the big toe) and some nerve pain set off by tight ski boots.  The long and short of it, is a whole lot of foot pain brought on by years of high impact running and some not so great shoes.  So it got me thinking, do we really pay that much attention to our feet and the major role they play in our alignment or posture and because of the pain in my feet, is that causing pain in other areas of my body.  Why yes, yes it is!  Now I will tell you I do a lot of standing and a lot sitting, but I spend a fair amount of time moving and stretching my feet, as I have had off and on pain in the heel and ankle from plantar fasciitis for years.  Before I continue, I want to give you some fun facts of the feet.

When you run, your impact is as much 3x your body weight.  So if I'm 135 lbs, that is 405 lbs of impact. That is about the size of  Welsh Pony, just saying.  The foot has 26 bones(which is a 1/4 of the total bones in the entire body). You have 33 joints and more than one hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments.  If any one part has a structural flaw or malfunction it can effect another part of the body such as ankles, knees, hips or the spine. And vice versa, if any part of the body is out of alignment within those parts(ankles, knees, hips, and spine)it can effect the feet.  So in short, the feet are really an important part to alignment, posture, and being pain free all the way up to the spine.  

So when you have damaged your feet unknowingly and now you just want to be pain free, what do you do?  There are a few things in Pilates that can help.  Joseph was not stupid about this part of the body and amazingly enough he created a little device called the Joe's toe Gizmo(available at pilates.com) and the foot corrector also available on pilates.com.  I also use a couple of half yamuna foot awaking balls and they help bring circulation back into the feet.  These are pretty inexpensive on amazon.com.  However, doing footwork on the Reformer, chair and caddy are great for the feet and just walking barefoot once in a while also helps to strength the foot, but walk with thoughtfulness on how the foot lands, if you land on the lateral (outside) arch or walk to the medial(inside) arch.  This all effects the function of the foot and alignment of the whole body.  I, also, do toe raises focusing on lifting the big toe separate from the other four toes, remember when doing this to press into all three points of the foot(the heel, the big ball and the pink side little ball) and spread the toes wide.  Heel lifts are great too and try some standing footwork, which really stretches the out the achilles, calf and ankle.  Ask me for any other exercises as there are a ton.  

In conclusion,  Please be nice to your feet and remember them when something is hurting because it might just be something in your feet and you might just need to give those feet some love!   

P.s.  Just a note, I am not advocating anyone that is a runner to stop or that running is bad for you,  just maybe pay attention to your foot fall and alignment.  :)

P.s.s.  I promise this is the last! :) I want you to know that I didn't address other foot problems as that was not on my blog list today.  I will address more in the coming posts.  Thank you for checking out my blog and please feel free to comment.   Have a happy feet day!   XO Gi


Benefits of Pilates- My story

Hi All!

My journey starts about 14 years ago, while living in small town Iowa.  I saw a sign in a massage shop for learning Pilates.  So I gave the gal a call and started my 5 sessions learning pilates.  It was mat based and her space was small, she gave me a print off of the exercises which was nice, but we never really went very far with it.  She had a reformer that I'm pretty sure her husband had made for her, we used that only once. Never really enjoying the experience.  6 month later, I found a book on Mari Winsor pilates and decided to take this on at home.  Mari's descriptions were good and I finally started to enjoy and see some improvement, however, home based, on your own exercise never goes very far for me and I ended up loosing interested. Going back to running full time. Did I mention that I have run for 35 years, taking a break only for a couple of months in between.  Back to Pilates.  Fast forward about 7 years, I become a member of a gym in Omaha, NE. They had a pilates studio and I began privates, I was also training for a couple of 1/2 marathons and getting ready to take on a full.  The pilates instructor was good, but did not have a great understanding of the body and injuries and I ended up more sore than not. So I removed that from my training and went to a personal trainer.  I should note here that poor instructors who don't understand the needs of an individual will lose clients.  I have found this to be true in my own instructing and I think it important to keep up of your education and know the body. Fast forward  4 more years, we move to Denver, I find a studio across  Washington park and I start taking pilates.  I decided to continue to run and train for another 1/2 marathon. Full marathon was just too much on my body.  I start taking pilates twice a week at The Pilates Studio and love it. All of Kim Kolesar instructor are great.   I feel better, but am still running and finish my final run, completing the Denver Rock N Roll Half.  My time was about the 20 minutes slower than my last 1/2, I'm very disappointed, but my hip hurt the entire race and now it takes me six weeks to recover as my whole right hip, back and leg down to my toes are in pain. I go to the doctor, no help, see physical therapist, no help,  start seeing a chiropractor and I start to see some help and pain starts to alleviate itself. She gives me some exercises and I start taking Pilates more serious. I see real change from the Pilates.  However, I am done running and when I try to run the pain returns.  We do an mri and find out I have scoliosis and degeneration in my L5 - Sacrum and I find out I have arthritis in my feet especially my toes.  In between all of this, I decide to become an instructor, as I see the benefits I am getting from Pilates and know that others could benefit as well.   Fast forward one last time to now.  I complete my certification through PH7 Pilates with Cher Aslor via Kim.  My passion is to help people find that relief from pain and see the benefits of doing pilates regularly.  It does not matter who you are or what your body shape is. We all need movement and strength and we all need Pilates.  Pilates not only gives movement, but strength in the core including the spine, shoulders, neck, hips and legs.  Right down to the toes.  It helps with many injuries, alignment issues, strength, and a whole host of other issues we may have.  You see Pilates focuses on the little muscles which support the big muscles and give us that all over balance in strength and posture.  Come join me at Grow A Spine™ and let's work on this journey together.