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