Why? Pain Is Miserable & Foot Pain Is No Different.
Painful feet hurt with each and every step you take, this can take an emotional toll on your mental health, it can make you miserable, and eventually could lead to depression and anxiety. If you have ever suffered with chronic pain you will understand this. You don’t have to keep suffering, there are steps you can implement into your life to improve the health of your feet which in turn reduces the risk of further pain.
Don’t let foot pain get you down, here are 4 steps you can take right now that will make a difference:
1. Barefoot is best
The more time you can spend barefoot the better. The human race have spent thousands of years unshod (without shoes) and community’s around the World that are still unshod do not have the foot deformities, foot dysfunction and pain that shod communities do. Shoe technology is ‘improving’ rapidly yet foot pain and other linked health issues are increasing rapidly too.
It makes no sense.
The more support and cushioning our shoes have the worse the problem is becoming. Barefoot really is best, when the floor covering is safe. Shoes are there to protect your feet from dangers. Your house should be a safe place to go barefoot as much as you can. Is your garden safe to walk barefoot?
Depending on your feet at the moment, you may need to build up the time you spend barefoot, it may be too painful for great lengths of time. The stronger your feet get the more time you will be able to go, and you are improving your foot health all the time.
Go barefoot as much as you can.
When you are barefoot your toes are free, and when your toes are free they can move. Your toes are supposed to move. When you wear shoes nothing happens at your toes, they become static for hours and hours on end. Stiff narrow soled shoes force your toes together in a vice like grip and allow for zero movement. This weakens the muscles & stiffens the joints and this leads to pain.
Kick your shoes off as much as you can, if you are at the office with your feet under the desk, kick your shoes off and just see how much you move your toes without even realising. Shoes are not designed for human feet, your foot is not shoe shaped and most shoes are not foot shaped – best thing to do is get them off as soon as you can, as much as you can.
Wiggle and Jiggle your toes allow them the freedom to move.
If your toes can’t bend like this (see picture above) you need to work on your toe mobility
3. Stretch your toes and feet
As mentioned above stiff feet will become painful, any stiff joint hurts – your feet are no different. In fact each foot has 33 joints, these joints have restricted movement due to footwear, they then stiffen up. You know how painful a stiff knee joint can be when its not moved very much – and thats just one joint, so it’s no wonder foot pain is common.
You should be able to spread your toes out using the muscles in your feet – move all your toes away from each other. Actively stretching your toes and the muscles in between the bones in your feet.
You can passively stretch them too by using toe correctors, wearing toe socks or by holding hands with your feet – yep you read that right – hold hands with your feet. Try and get your fingers in between your toes. This does mean you need to be able to reach your toes, if you are having trouble touching your toes, this needs addressing too.
Spread your toes actively and passively – mix it up
Keep practising spreading your toes as widely as you can, as often as you can (see video above)
Weak foot muscles equals pain. Joints that are stiff do not require the muscles to do anything, because the joints work by the muscles moving them. If the joints are held in place by shoes, the muscles can switch off and have a holiday, effectively made redundant.
If you have ever broken a bone in your body and it has been in a cast for 6 weeks or more, you will know how stiff the joint becomes and how weak the surrounding muscles are, but with movement comes strength, and with strength comes movement. It is all linked together.
Your feet just like unshod communities are designed to take our weight, support our bodies to walk, run, jump, hop and move. Shoes have weakened our feet, which have become stiff, painful and prone to injury. If you strengthen and mobilise your feet and foot joints, you will reduce pain and reduce the risk of injury.
You do that by going barefoot as much as possible. Your feet have to learn how to support the weight from above without the ‘support’ of shoes.
I don’t believe that additional body weight causes foot pain, unless you go to bed for a year, never weight bare, put on a lot of weight and then try to run/walk a marathon. Your bones, muscles and joints adjust to additional weight as you put it on. This might be a controversial belief, but it’s more likely that you change an activity, or expect your feet to do more than they are strong enough to do and thats what causes the pain.
Strengthen your feet – reduce the risk of injury
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