Building A Foundation: A Guide to Perfect Foot Health

As a movement expert, I look at the body from a structural standpoint. What has become very clear over the years of watching people move is that If you want a solid structure that can stand the test of time then you must have a solid stable foundation to build from.  As humans, our foundation is our feet.

 How strong and stable are your feet?

 If we look at the foot from a structural standpoint, very simply we should have 3 points of contact on the ground when we are standing upright:  The first metatarsal of the big toe, the first metatarsal of the little toe, and the heel.

 When we grip the ground with our feet, a nice arch should exist in the mid-foot and equal pressure should be applied at rest.

 The trouble is, most of us have become accustomed to footwear that has weakened the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the foot.  Consequently, very often I see problems that exist like dropped arch or over-pronation, bunions that form from over pressure on the big toe, plantar fasciitis, and many other issues.

 A simple test to see how stable your feet are is to look at a pair of your shoes that you’ve worn for a while. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are the heels worn the same on both shoes?
  2. Is there one where the outer or inner edge is worn at an angle?
  3. Is there similar wearing in the front outer and inner edges?

 Of course, there are many reasons that you might have uneven wear that includes your knees, hips, and pelvis, so another quick check would be to have someone take a picture of your Achilles’ tendons while you are standing at rest.  Are they even and vertical? Or are they bowed inward or outwards? These can be signs that your feet and lower legs have imbalances.

 TIPS FOR RE-CONDITIONING AND STRENGTHENING YOUR FEET

The same principles apply for correcting a problem in your feet as they do any orthopedic issue in the body. There must be concerted consistent efforts to correct movement with joint and tissue care, frequent corrective exercise to strengthen, and elimination of negative habits that are contributing to the problem.

 NOTE: If you have pain or a serious foot issue going on then seek a movement expert like a chiropractor or physical therapist to help you. There might be more going on than just a simple foot problem.

 To tackle soft tissue care, then you need a couple of simple tools like an Acumobility ball or lacrosse ball, foam roller or eclipse roller, and a towel or strap. Perform trigger point and soft tissue release with the foam roller and balls on the 4 muscle quadrants of the lower leg (posterior calf and soleus, anterior tibialis, lateral peroneus muscles, and medial muscles like the tibialis posterior). Also, use the balls on the arch of your foot to release tension to the arch.

  1. Perform some corrective exercises like flexing your toes and doing repetitions with your ankle in flexion, extension, inversion, and eversion. Extend your toes and perform the same motions. Then, find a small step and perform slow controlled calf raises with your knee in a locked position, then in a slightly bent position to elicit a stretch to the calf.

Then to bring it altogether perform some functional movement like air squats or reverse lunges with your focus on gripping the ground with your feet keeping equal pressure on the floor and an arch pulled up in your foot.

  1. Habits to kick when it comes to keeping your feet happy and healthy are to get out of your shoes as much as possible and walk in your bare feet or stockings. To ramp it up a notch, taking a stroll on the beach will challenge your feet even more or a nice uneven surface like rocks or cobblestone :)

 Following these recommendations daily for even 2 weeks you will start to notice a significant improvement in your foot strength, function, and health.

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