***I’m bumping this series back to the top for all of my 30 Days of Walking (or whatever you want to re-start) peeps. I’ll post the rest of the series over the next few weeks! Enjoy!***
One of the most fascinating things to me about this journey I’ve been on to improve my health is the importance of foot health. I had NO IDEA what a difference healthy feet can make. I remember in the beginning, a friend of mine recommending “Earthing”. I did some research on it, and I started walking around on natural surfaces outside my home in bare feet. Maybe it was all psychosomatic, but it did seem to help my lower back pain when I did this. I can’t speak to the benefits of Earthing other than that, but if you follow the link above, there’s been some interesting research on the effects of being grounded to the Earth; and I intend to study it more.
Much later in my freedom from back pain adventure, when I had really gotten into the meat of Restorative Exercise™, I started to see the connection between walking barefoot and the biomechanics of the human foot. Did you know that the foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments? That means that roughly 25% of our bones and muscles are in the ankles and feet. Let that sink in for a minute. They may be small muscles and bones, but when you really stop and think about it, there’s a reason there are so many. Our feet truly are our foundation.
Have any of you had problems with the foundation of your home? Ever heard of anyone having foundation problems with their home? It’s a nightmare. If you’ve got problems with your foundation, you’ve got BIG problems long-term with the rest of your house. They are usually incredibly expensive and complex to repair. And so it is with the foundation of the human body. Without healthy, flexible feet, the rest of our body has to compensate and adjust to the tight immobility of it’s foundation. I know it sounds overly simple, but as with anything, usually the most simple explanation is the most correct. I say “most correct” because I don’t necessarily mean that it’s THE correct explanation all of the time; just the most likely. That’s also not to say that other issues are necessarily wrong, just that the most simple usually equals the most correct. Okay then? Moving on.
Let’s review. Your feet are your foundation. They are made up of 25% of the total bones and muscles in your entire body. They need to be flexible and strong in order for the rest of your body to function correctly (more on this later; if you’re impatient and want to know why, do your own research in the meantime, ok?). So why ARE our feet so tight and bumpy and inflexible? Well, that’s easy. We’ve been putting casts on them since we started to walk. Yes, I said CASTS. Imagine, if you will, that you started putting mittens on your hands around the age of 2. Imagine they were tight mittens that held your fingers together for 8-10 hours a day. Then add stiff, inflexible palm protectors that held your hands in one position in order to protect them from the elements. Now imagine what your hands would look like. Something like this?
I know this sounds silly, but I’m making a point here. That’s what we do to our feet. In our attempt to protect them, and then later, to change our height, follow fashion trends, or have the BEST running shoe (you’re kidding yourself if you think your running shoes aren’t technically high heels) we have been putting our feet in casts for decades. Have you ever actually had a cast on any part of your body? Remember what that arm or leg or foot looks like when the cast comes off? Diminished and pasty and the muscles have shrunk. Yep. That’s what we do to our feet. And the rest of our body suffers from that.
Earlier this week I wrote a Facebook post about aligning your chin. It was pretty cool, and I had a lot of fun writing it. I’ve been really aware of how far out in front of my body my chin gets sometimes, and I do my best to bring it back into alignment when I can. Ultimately though, the problem with my chin stems from my feet. Sound weird? My goal this week is to connect some dots for you on why so many issues we have with our bodies stem from unhealthy feet. Intrigued? Stay tuned. I’ll also be sharing posts from some of my fellow Restorative Exercise Specialists™ who have much more knowledge than I do on the topic, and I’ll be reposting Aligned and Well’s 24 (ish) Day Walking Advent Calendar blog series. Katy Bowman of Aligned and Well will be giving away some foot remedies along with her wealth of information on proper gait and healthy walking habits, and I’ll be running a giveaway in conjunction with one of her posts coming up in the next few weeks. Stay tuned, and let’s fix your feet!
P.S. Have questions? Please post them in the comments below, or on my Facebook page, and I’ll do my best to answer them! Thanks for reading. 🙂