Many structural issues in the body can be traced down to the feet. The body is a totally interconnected system, and the feet act as the foundation. If you’re struggling with recurrent injuries, knee, hip, back or even neck pain, or you’ve reached a plateau in your training, it could be down to weak, misaligned feet, or a lack of mobility in that particular area.
The complex structure of the foot, with 26 bones and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments in each, means they’ve evolved to travel long distances, varying terrain, and the huge amount of nerve endings in them make the feet our primary way of sensing and connecting with the earth. (check #36alive 26 for the importance of earthing and grounding). The thing is, now we’re all wearing shoes for most of the time, we’ve essentially ‘cut off’ our connection to the earth, and we’ve severely compromised the mobility and strength of our feet at the same time.
Like all the other parts of the body inside and out, the feet respond to their environment; shove them in a pair of high heels for 12 hours a day, and your ankle ligaments will shorten, you’ll become more likely to develop bunions, and you’ll probably develop muscle imbalances. Pop them in a pair of flip flops, and the continual gripping of the toes means the rest of the foot doesn’t function fully. An improperly fitting pair of trainers can encourage pronation or supination, which is a common cause of referred knee pain, and flat shoes like pumps of converse can exacerbate existing conditions of ‘flat feet’ as well as causing them.
Tight fascia in the soles of the feet is a common cause of tight calves, hamstring and hips, and in #36alive 4 we gave you a foot exercise to remedy this….
Strengthening and gaining more mobility in the feet can enhance physical performance, reduce the risk of injury, and help in resetting natural, healthy posture and muscle function, and a greater mind body connection.
SO, if you haven’t paid much attention to your feet recently, slip off your shoes, wiggle your toes around, and get ready for this week’s coming posts, where we’ll show you how to make a noticeable difference to your movement and your body, by strengthening and mobilising your feet.