In my yoga classes, we occasionally focus on the feet and do some ball rolling, massaging and interlacing of fingers between the toes. And then we notice how that helps with balance poses, standing poses, etc.
Not only does this help with yoga poses, it also helps with movement in general. That’s because, as the song goes, “the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone. The ankle bone’s connected to the shin bone. …”. And so on. In other words, if your feet are weak and stiff, this will affect your ankles, knees, hips and low back. Because they’re all connected. Let’s say your knees are bothering you. It’s probably not a problem in the knee area, but rather something your feet are doing – or not doing.
The foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of artLeonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci said the foot is “a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.” However, many of us can hardly see the truth in this.
Walking on flat, even surfaces – in “good” supportive shoes – probably hasn’t done your feet any favours. Feet, just like any body part, behave and cooperate (i.e. don’t cause pain) when used to their potential. The foot has 29 muscles – 10 foot/ankle and 19 intrinsic – many of which hardly get any use. Or, certain muscles get over used because of poor posture or wearing shoes with a heel. Bottom line? Muscles get weak and or stiff.
While many people see the problem with wearing heels, most believe that supportive shoes are important. And good support can help in some instances. But relying on that support can do harm, as it prevents the muscles of the feet from actually working. This doesn’t mean that we should ditch our shoes and go cold turkey! It does take time for the feet muscles to transition. But know that the “use it or lose it” principle applies to feet as well.
I wrote a simple Feet Rx guide that gives you some easy things to do regularly to have happy feet! While this is not going to solve all your problems, it will help your feet support you better in walking, running, squatting, skating, cycling, and so on. You may also notice that your feet become less stiff and painful.
To get this free guide, click here. Here’s to happier feet!