As you dive deep into self care, working out or just a general getting to know you period with your body, it’s important to address the part of your body that connects you to everything you come in contact with. And it’s not the hands. It’s the feet!
The foot has to be one of the most interesting parts of the body. Although they are certainly not as dexterous as the hands, when you break down the different bones, joints, muscles and ligaments present in the foot, you have to acknowledge that all of those bones must be there for a reason. Only 3 bones make up what consists of the elbow or knee joint and out of that we get movement in pretty much just one plane of motion (flexion and extension)…… there’s a bit of rotation too but let’s leave that alone so I can prove my point. So 3 bones equals one plane of motion. How about 26?
If more bones means more joints and more joints means more movement then it stands to reason that we are going to have a ton of movement at the foot.
So why don’t we talk much about it?
Mostly because of shoes.
Shoes have become so good (or bad depending on how you look at it) over the past few decades that it’s easy for the foot to become lazy. One of the first recommendations usually given for flat feet is a high arched shoe or orthotic inserts to maintain the height of your arch. And I’m not saying that it doesn’t help. But does that treat the problem or the symptom?
If you had a knee injury and we deemed that your knee was unstable, I may have you wear a knee brace for the remainder of your season or when you practice or play games, but I certainly wouldn’t instruct you to walk around with a knee brace on 24/7. If you did you might be out of pain, but we didn’t help the problem. We made the muscles surrounding the knee weaker.
If the same can be said of the foot, then a high arched shoe or orthotic in soles effectively make the intrinsic muscles of the foot even weaker because now they do not have to control for any movement that they would’ve had to when the only shoe available were ChuckTaylors (which from a stylistic standpoint, I love).
Your foot pain can definitely be treated with insoles or selecting the perfect shoe that is made specifically for your type of foot. But doesn’t it make more sense to strengthen your weaknesses rather than brace them?
There’s an old saying, “it’s easier to wear slippers than to carpet the world.”
But in the case of your feet, maybe you’re just better off barefoot.
Dr. Kevin Davi D.P.T., MetaTouch Body Balance