One of my passions is reading, you will always find me sitting somewhere halfway through a book. My latest read is Move your DNA, it is a great book on the movement. One of the things I have taken into my daily practice in the clinic is to remind clients about their feet, the connection to the earth and the importance of taking care of your feet.
Your foot has 33 different joints, which allow it to move in multiple directions. However, the important thing about your feet is they are a sensory organ; interpreting where your foot is on the ground and informing your brain, this provides the mechanics of movement, including balance. These messages help the ankles, knees, hips and pelvis to keep us upright and inline. They create the correct movement within our body.
Have you thought about your feet, the shoes you wear, and what you do to take care of your feet? We tend to squash our feet when we wear tight shoes, high heels and shoes that have soles worn down on one side, not great for the knees, hips or torso. We walk on flat surfaces that are mostly even, this limits the natural movement of our feet. We are actually designed to walk barefoot, over uneven surfaces and rough terrain.
Each small change in the ground underneath our feet is there for interpretation, when we constantly adorn our feet in shoes we can lose this skill. Our feet and the joints can become rigid and stuck; only moving certain ways and then when we walk on an uneven surface we can twist our ankle or sprain our feet as they are not accustomed to this form of walking. Restricted movement can lead to poor movement patterns, that may result in pain or injury. The reality is we lose the ability to read the terrain below our feet, we can no longer ground ourselves.
Paying attention to our feet, the healthy movement patterns achieved when barefoot and carefree. There are so many ways to reconnect the foot and the brain. On my days off I love to paddleboard, this is a simple yet extremely effective way to connect with your feet, balance and core, not to mention firing up the brain.
Another way that is simple and effective is simply using a tennis ball, or spiky ball to roll under your foot, moving from the toes to the heel, slowly and smoothly. Do this exercise by rolling the ball in different directions, with varying amounts of pressure. Reconnect by unveiling your feet from your shoes, move your body and your mind.