If we showed our feet some love more often, you will be amazed at how good they can feel, but it could also help improve your balance. To me this is a win-win.
The main role of the feet is to tell our brains how we are contacting the ground and keep us upright. If our brain knows exactly where our feet are and how we are contacting the ground, it makes sense that our balance would be better, right?
You will remember from my previous blog post on how our balance system works (if you haven’t, you can read it here) that sensory information, called proprioception, is one way the brain learns where our different body parts are. The feet have an awful lot of sensors telling our brains what they are doing.
Do you know what fires off these sensors? The answer is simple…..movement.
Stiff shoes and flat ground
Problems can arise because we simply don’t move our bodies and in particular our feet enough. When it comes to our feet, we tend to wear stiff hard shoes a lot of the time and then when we aren’t wearing shoes we are usually walking on flat hard surfaces. Both of these senarios means we aren’t moving the joints and muscles of feet often enough.
Whilst we are talking about shoes
It’s not just stiff soled shoes that cause foot problems. Most shoes also have a raised heel of some description. Even a small heel can change our posture and the way our foot functions. Aside from the obvious high heels, most sport shoes will have an elevated heel of some description.
A majority of shoes also have a narrow toe box (front of the show). Our feet do not naturally narrow at the toes. Wearing shoes that are narrow, squash the front of the foot together causing compression and jamming up of joints. A lot of bunions are caused be wearing shoes that too narrow and push your big toe outwards. This can lead bunion formation over time.
Having a shoe that is too padded can also cause problems. Did you know that wearing padded shoes can actually increases the force we put through our bodies as it can change the way we walk? When we wear soft padded shoes, we tend to take bigger strides and land on our heels more than if we were in bare feet. This can put a lot of force through our bodies.
Notice when we are walking in bare feet, we tend to take smaller strides because no one wants to slam their heels into the ground the same way you would if had your shoes on. Don’t believe me? Do a little experiment and try it. I think you will be surprised.
Sitting and feet problems
I have talked about this a lot over the years, but as a general rule we tend to sit too much. Too much sitting can lead to hip and pelvic problems that then lead to foot problems. Weakness in the pelvis changes foot alignment which often ends in dysfunction.
What do you mean, show my feet some love?
I am not telling you to go and throw out all your shoes and go barefoot everywhere. Like most things, if a problem has been present for a long time, it will take time to make changes.
I will be posting a video this week showing some simple ways to help look after your feet and show them a little love. This simply means taking a little time each day to look after your feet.
You may have to wear dress shoes, work boots or high heels at work and if you do, when you get home there are some simple things you can do to help undo some of the damage this can cause. Most people who I show these things to, actually enjoy doing it and it feels good.
So keep an eye out for the video, try the exercises and show your feet some love. They will thank you for it.