Every person is different with a unique body structure, different anatomy, physiology and behaviour. Even down to our feet we do not follow a standard template, our feet have their own structure, function, they even differ from each other! Our feet are arguably one of our greatest gifts - they enable us to enjoy our lives from our very first steps. Do we truly value what our feet do for us? That could be argued as a no, after all we hide them in shoes and dress them in socks – we in-prison our greatest gifts. But if we stopped and considered their importance would we reconsider our choices…?
During our lifetime our feet constantly change, they grow and evolve depending on our self care. Our feet are sensitive organs with about 70,000 surface sensing receptors. They can detect any uneven surface even with our shoes on, they can sense the temperature or even if it is wet or dry. By
oppressing our feet in tight socks or ill-fitting shoes we are not only preventing movement but also blood and lymph flow.
One of the common problems we can cause our feet is damaging the metatatarsus (the middle part between the ankle and toes) which causes tightened ligaments and tendons of the toes. This can even lead to a more serious condition known as Hammer toes. This is when the toes are pushed
towards each other and as a result the big toe can in worst cases become deformed, and a bunion, or hallus vagus is formed. Bunion is described as a bump on the side of the big toe. But it is more than that. The visible bump actually reflects changes in the bony framework of the front part of the foot. The big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead.
Foot pain - What do we do though if there are no physical symptoms that we can see, other than feeling it in our legs or feet? Did you know that by standing incorrectly this affects our posture which in turn causes incorrect weight distribution in our feet? Muscle inbalance can also be caused from being stationary or even being over weight, the pressure is always on our feet. When we stand up our foot grabs the ground and adapts its structure and shape to support us, even as we are static the muscles in our feet help reduce the impact to our hips, spine and help relieve the joints. Active feet support the work of the pelvic floor and even help us to develop a full breath. They act as a shock absorber by reducing the energy intensity from the surface.
Our feet need support, strength, stability and healthy muscles and ligaments. When we walk, we need to make sure that we are preventing damage so from an early age we need to make sure our feet are in comfortable soft shoes and not imprisoned. The impact of unsuitable shoe wear such as stilettos can cause long term effects even as adults – with pressure on the metatarsus being the main issue. Foot deformities from childhood can cause a lifetime of problems and as we get older and face new challenges such as weight gain, pregnancy or injuries that cause our feet stress.
How do we fix this? How can we ease this stress? We can do this by earthing of course – feeling the earth under our bare feet is known to help. It even helps us with thermoregulation - feeling hot and cold is an important feeling that we need to regain. However, it is not easy for everyone to spend a day walking bare foot, no matter how useful it is for our feet. The next best way is to have shoes that mimic walking barefoot. We must choose suitable footwear, lighter shoes with great support so that we can feel as close to bare feet as possible.