Your feet connect you to earth. They are the roots from which your body aligns. If your feet aren’t in good condition, taken care of, strong, and well positioned, you will suffer in the future.
After sitting and lying, standing or walking are the most common ways of being during the day. So if you have solved the seated issue ( read article here), the next step is simply to solve the shoe crisis we live in.
This is a foot and a leather shoe (both mine, I had to wear a pair for my brothers’ wedding) :
Can you see the problem here? You solved the « cube in the square hole » when you were 2, yet we keep pushing these strange contraptions on our feet.
If you look at tribesmen who hunt barefoot in the woods, you will see the the way their toes are spead out has nothing to do with what your feet look like. And these guys can climb trees with those.
However I can understand that the « wide » types of shoes are ugly. For men, but unfortunately especially for women who sometimes like to wear heels with their everyday outfits.
This outer beauty will probably drive your big toe to get pushed in towards the center of the foot, change where your center of mass is on your foot, then drive the knee inward, and in consequence knee and back pain.
But sometimes, it isn’t just about the shoe. If you were a dancer between 4 and 20, you have spent hour in what is called the Premiere Position, and it is more than likely that you spend your standing time with your feet pointed out in this position. Problem is, if you walk like this and try to drive your knee forward, you are going to end up with severe meniscus damage in the long run.
In both cases, you will end by developing a bunion, an inner meniscus issue, and hip and back wear and tear. Especially if you start trying to run like that.
And this also applies to running. The shoes have changed the natural manner with which we are supposed to connect with the ground, and have started a terrible epidemic of chronic issues of arthritis, tendonitis, shin splints, and many other running related ailments…. If you have ever tried to run barefoot, you will quickly understand that the technique you use changes immediately.
The impact that goes up into the body when you Heel Strike (picture on the right) even at low speeds increases the impact on the knee, hip and lower back ( https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-35980-6). This could be significantly lowered by application of correct running technique and thinner, flat soles in order to “feel” the ground more when you run, in order to learn How to run naturally before wearing two inches of foam under the soles of your feet.
I suggest you go and take a look at the pose technique. After I put on 5kg of muscle and ran a marathon faster, with 3 running sessions instead of 5, and 2-3 hours total instead of 4-6, I was thrilled. Better results, with less time and and effort? I’m in.
Please treat your feet with care. Make sure they are free when you are at home. That on weekends, when you don’t have to look fancy you let them roam in flexible, wide toe shoes. That you only wear heels for short amounts of time, and that if your feet are in pain, it’s usually not a good sign.
When you can, try and walk barefoot on grass, sand, rocks, and feel the ground underneath your feet. When you are lying down, feel free to try and splay your toes open, curls your toes down, up, and try to separated the use of your big toes from the rest of your toes.
Here are a few exercises you can do to improve foot health and strength :
And please work on the tissues by rolling your foot on balls, or simply walking on uneven surfaces. This will make sure that the bones, muscles and ligaments in your feet are moving correctly and aren’t stuck. Nothing should hurt when pressure is put into it. If it does, then work slowly through the tough tissue until it is relaxed / released. However if the work done makes no difference then it might not be a muscular or tightness issue, you might have some other problem you might want to get checked.
My goal here is not to make you relinquish your fashion sense, but to take this opportunity to make your creativity work when it comes to crossing over health and style. Thankfully we don’t live in the 50’s anymore, and the workplace allows for slightly more lee way when it comes to dress codes.
Your health should come first. Impressing people you don’t really care about isn’t worth destroying your feet, knees and back for life.