Feet are complicated.

They have what seems like a million moving parts and they are among the most unglamorous parts of human anatomy.  They are for the most part thought of as mostly a tool, an appendage for displaying shoes or, worst of all, not thought of at all.

The fact is that your feet and their general health are literally the foundation for your healthy alignment.  So in today’s Friday Focus, we are giving feet a much-deserved promotion.

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For the most people, perfect feet come with your newborn body.  They are wide across the base, develop an arch that usually needs no support, and have toes that splay as we stand and walk.  In short, the perfect foundation for healthy alignment.  So what went wrong?

Shoes

While shoes can be wonderful for those whose feet have genetic differences or difficulties, for anyone else they are a disaster.  And, since the shoe-wearing society ship has sailed for most of us, we must adapt.  In other words, you need to stretch and care for your feet.

  1. Wear the right size shoe. 32% of women worldwide and 90%!!! of American women are in the wrong shoe size.  Men aren’t much better with 80% of American men in the wrong shoe.  Get your feet remeasured later in the day after you’ve walked and preferably after at least a few minutes walking in your bare feet at the store.  This one is easy, just do this.
  2. Commit to some bare-footed time.  One of the easiest resets to being in shoes all-day is to spend some time walking around without them.  If you’re like me though and get easily chilled this is harder in winter.  If this is you, consider investing in slipper socks or some other flexible indoor slipper.  I live in these but there are many similar products on the market the key is very little structure and room to spread.
  3. Stretch your feet during the day if possible and every evening.  During the day, a short respite from shoe wearing can be amazing for alignment especially if you are in shoes with a heel of any type.  My favorite is to take a moment in my socked or bare feet and commit to a full forward bend with tremor (because Fitzmaurice Voicework is amazing) to get the entire body aligned.  I take extra care to spread my toes and to articulate through the feet as I get set up. In the evening, a more thorough stretch is advisable in addition to some shoe-less time.
  4. Stretch your Feet. Here are a few foot stretches for flexibility and health.  If you think there may be something actually “wrong”  please see a podiatrist and/or a foot reflexologist.
    1. Point and Flex your Toes.  From a seated or prone position lift one foot at a time and slowly point the foot as much as is comfortable without pain and then flex your foot.  Try for as fluid a motion a possible.  Repeat 3x per foot.
    2. Standing toe lifts. From a standing position spread your toes as wide as they are willing and lift the toes (and only the toes) from the ground then set them back.  This one requires stability through the heel so stand near a wall or chair if balancing could be an issue for you.
    3. Raise your heels.  Also from a standing position raise your heels from the ground putting the weight of your foot into the ball of your foot.  Do these one foot at a time 3x per foot.
    4. Spread and squeeze your toes.  This one is best done with clean feet.  From a seated position separate your toes by interlacing with your fingers and gently spread them while you gently rotate the foot.  Alternate with hugging the toes with your hand 3x per foot.
    5. Roll your feet. Among the top 10 inventions in the world, there must be a place for Reflexology Balls.  These orbs of pain and pleasure are rolled under the foot working out the many ways in which one has stressed the foot.  Tennis balls will work but these are magical.

Hopefully, you will avail yourself of some or all of these tools.  If you need a quick reminder of how interconnected all of these things are, I am including again the Deep Front Line video (again this is a video of actual human tissue so skip it if squeamish).

Take care of those feet!