I work with a great deal of people suffering from structural problems and I can tell you that the part of our anatomy that is always connected to other issues in our body are our FEET. From the moment you start moving, you use your feet. This means that almost everything you do, connects to your feet.
If you have ever had an accident, injury or surgery, whatever patterns your body slipped into to enable you to walk during that time became imprinted in your feet. Once your body recovered, your feet most likely stayed in that old pattern.
If you have bad posture or misalignment problems in your body, your feet will follow the same pattern. If you improve your posture without including your feet, it will be very difficult for your body to stay in its new position. Your emotional and mental wellbeing are also in your feet. If you feel depressed or anxious for long periods, it’s reflected in your posture and weighs heavily on your feet. Your feet don’t know how to switch to more positive ways of supporting you without some basic, practical foot education. When your feet are supporting you correctly, they can help you get through any life crisis.
If you’ve never had any problems in your body and your feet feel fine, you may wonder why you should be even thinking about them? Prevention is key. Statistically speaking 75% of Americans will develop foot problems at some point in their lives and 83% of these problems will become chronic. Why wait to be a part of this statistic, when you can avoid it now?
Here are some basic foot facts. You have 52 bones in your feet which means 1/4 of the bones in your body are in your feet, demonstrating that the potential for movement and skeletal support for the rest of your body should come from your feet. Unfortunately, foot problems develop slowly over time. It is often said foot problems are caused by footwear, stress or overuse. Can you imagine what you would be doing to other parts of your body if you closed them in tightly for years? They would calcify and lose healthy movement. Squeezing our feet into shoes over time causes the bones to calcify together causing our muscles, tendons, and ligaments to lose healthy mobility. Let’s face it, it is impossible not to overuse your feet. The moment you stand on them and begin to move each day, you are putting them into overuse. If they are misaligned, weak, lacking in strength or flexibility, you are just hurting yourself.
I always tell people your feet are your foundation, yet they do not come with an instruction manual. I urge people not to wait until they have a foot problem to start taking care of their feet. And, by the way, don’t think your feet are fine just because you buy healthy shoes, or wear orthotics, as these alone won’t do the trick. Why not take the time to learn how to improve and fix your feet now? Don’t wait until you have pain and trouble walking. You have already been breaking down your feet for years. It is simply smart to put a little love and attention their way now. It’s also easy and not time consuming.
There are so many simple mindful ways you can begin to check in with your feet throughout the day:
- When you are standing, how are your feet positioned? If one or both feet are turned out, shift them into a parallel position, hip width apart.
- Next, transfer your weight to the outer foot. How does this feel? Do you feel straighter and more lifted?
- If you notice you walk with one foot turned out or your ankles start dropping, start walking with both feet parallel.
Dropped arches or a foot turned out over time can lead to ankle, knee, hip or back problems, which you can avoid by making simple easy changes to your feet. Remember, the feet are very forgiving, they want to work well. When you begin to make mindful improvements daily, your feet and your entire body will thank you.
I wrote The Foot Fix (January 12th, 2021) because I believe people can improve and maintain healthy feet at any age. It is a 4-week step by step program that is easy to follow and you will feel improvements from the very first week. You can purchase The Foot Fix on Amazon and in all good bookstores.
Yamuna Zake is a visionary healer dedicated to demystifying the body and providing simple, powerful tools to make lifelong fitness a reality for everyone. She has trained an international network of 800 certified practitioners and hosts sell-out foot-fitness classes around the world for clients of all ages. Her work has been featured internationally in magazines such as Vogue and Oprah, in newspapers and on TV. She is also the author of The Ultimate Body Rolling Workout.