Our feet are something we only think about when they hurt — when we need new shoes, or in the summer, when more of them show. But how often do you think about the importance of your feet and how you use them contribute to your overall health and well being?
Understanding the importance of feet was always something I knew in theory – now I know in reality! I have been experiencing big toe joint problems for about two months, and its effects have been staggering (no pun intended!). Being unable to bear weight on the big toe has thrown my gait off, forcing me to put weight on the outside of my foot. Not only does the outside of my foot hurt, but also my hips, back and shoulders hurt. Additionally, the opposite foot hurts, as do the calf and thigh muscles. WOW – all from not being able to walk correctly!
Let’s see why that would be. Mechanically, your feet are the foundation of your entire body. What is true of a house or building foundation is also true of your body; if the foundation is weak, the whole structure is unstable. Likewise, when a foundation shifts, the gravity lines also shift, placing weight-bearing stress in places that were never meant to support the load. Cracks in walls and joints start showing up in odd places — the weakest places. Over time, cracks become larger, more cracks appear, the structure may start to lean, and eventually it will crumble and fall to the ground!
We are meant to walk with our toes forward, striking the ground with the heel, bringing our body weight thru the arch, to the ball of the foot, and then finally push off from the toes –from pinky toe through the big toe in succession. When your gait shifts just a fraction, undue stress and misuse of leg muscles occur. Not all muscles area created equally: Some are used for stability, some for helping other muscles, some for posture, and some for major movement. When your gravity lines shift, the stabilizing muscles become the major movers, causing other muscles throughout your body to tighten or loosen and be used in ways THEY are not supposed to be used. This creates body-wide involvement, with your muscles operating inefficiently in ways they were not designed to, pulling joints off-center. Leave this situation alone long enough and you will experience joint degeneration.
Improper walking can account for any joint pain you experience, even headaches. Now I like a beautiful shoe every once in a while, but the majority of your shoes should offer support to your feet in their arduous task of supporting the rest of your body. Think about how much weight they bear. Think about the task they need to perform. They are, in themselves, perfectly formed with 3 arches to support normal body weight for your height, proper posture and walking. The problem is, we do not use our feet correctly.
Take a few moments and analyze your walking technique. Are your feet hip-width apart (a wide base is a steady base)? Are your toes pointed forward – or are they pointed outward/inward? Do you hit the ground with your heel, then the ball, and finally roll off from your toes? Try practicing. At first you may experience awkwardness and soreness while your body realigns itself…but in the end, you will be the healthier for it.
Vibrant Life Therapies, LLC, located in Trexlertown, PA, offers massage therapy, exercise therapy, and nutritional counseling. Donna Ondek, owner, is a licensed Massage Therapist and certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Counselor. Donna specializes in and Rehabilitative and Medical Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Mastectomy and Oncology Massage. To learn more, contact Donna via phone or text at (610)703-1596, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.VibrantLifeTherapies.com.
By combining your desire for and commitment to improved health and my knowledge of the body and passion for health, we can begin to help you experience a more Vibrant Life today! Call (610) 703-1596 today to schedule an appointment.