Your feet have a lot to answer for, well to be honest – what you have shoved your feet in for decades have a lot to answer for:
* Shoes that deform your toes
* Shoes with stiff soles that restrict natural movement
* Supportive shoes that remove the need for your muscles to do any work
* Arch supports that inhibit normal foot mechanics
* Nearly all shoes having a positive heel that means you are essentially walking downhill all the time.
Shoes That Aren’t Designed For The Human Foot Shape – Your Feet Become Shoe Shaped
These shoes are pointed, and they squish your feet, the toe box isn’t designed for human foot shapes, so your feet become shoe shaped. Your toes are bent into a pointed toe box, and they all have a positive heel which means your body weight is forced into your forefoot, adding additional pressure to your toes both underneath and width ways.
These shoes can and do cause bunions, hammertoes, corns, callouses, metatarsalgia, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, inter-metatarsal bursitis + more – and non-diagnosed foot pain. They can also lead to knee pain, lower back pain, leaky pelvic floor, ankle pain, poor posture and impact your balance.
The higher the heel the worse the problem becomes, more pressure everywhere. Your posture has to change to accommodate the height of the heel. Your lower back becomes compressed due to the adaptions you have to make for the angle of your foot, you have to walk with your hips forwards, your pelvis in an anterior tilt to act as a counter balance so you don’t fall flat on your face. Leading to back pain, disc issues and neck and shoulder pain too. They impact everything.
You would’t believe that trainers do the same as wearing high heeled shoes would you….
But YES they do – they have a heel lift, your heel is higher than your forefoot – putting pressure in your forefoot, leading to pain in your toe area, forcing your pelvis out of alignment – causing back pain, knee pain, poor posture, pelvic floor dysfunction. They compromise good hip health.
As you can see from these photos – trainers also squish your toes together, look at the angle of the toe boxes, not a natural foot shape.
Wearing high heels to work, walking home in trainers, going to the gym, out running, out for a walk with the dog – ALL squish your toes, and your foot bones, force your body weight into your forefoot, your body is having to compensate for the heel lift ALL day – these adaptations will take a toll on your body somewhere or everywhere – you may feel like you are falling apart!!!
Foot wear like this also changes the mechanics of your feet – the muscles can’t do the job they are supposed to because there isn’t enough room for them to move, they are held firm in a plaster effect. If you have ever broken a limb you will have had a cast on it to keep it still, to allow the bones to knit back together and heal.
Once the cast comes off you notice the change in your muscle size and function – they feel weak, get tired easily and can take a while to get back to their former glory. But imagine the muscle function if the cast was on everyday for 12 hours or more for decades and decades.
You break a bone and you may get physiotherapy and rehabilitation to regain joint mobility and muscle function, when the cast comes off. Do you do any rehab for your feet? Do you do anything for the function of your feet when you take you high heeled pointy shoes off? Whether that’s trainers or stilettos…
Then you decide to go for a run or a hi-impact aerobics class, with high heeled pointy shoes on (trainers) but with EXTRA impact on every single joint in your body – and wonder why your feet hurt, your lower back hurts, your knees hurt, your shoulders and neck hurt. Your feet aren’t strong enough to withstand this constant pounding, something will go wrong. People think they can pop on a pair of trainers and go for a run, with no prior preparation and wonder why they get injured.
Runners need to train their feet to become stronger, more flexible and less stiff – to reduce the risk of injury. Otherwise they are prone to reoccurring injury – and changing trainers will not address the cause of the issue. Foot health needs improving and then foot wear needs addressing – not the other way around.
Walkers you aren’t in the clear either – sorry.
Walking boots are less pointy in the toe box, but still are too narrow for a natural foot shape. They have a high heel – the heel is higher than the forefoot – leading to foot pain etc etc….
They also have what’s called a toe spring – the toe is lifted off the floor, forcing the toes into an upward lift. Trainers are notorious for this too. Your toes can’t move.
The soles are soooo thick, you can’t bend your toes properly, because the soles don’t bend, and you can’t put your toes down because they are forced up. So your foot is redundant from any form of movement at all – you just rock forward because of the toe spring, if that wasn’t there you would’t be able to move forwards at all. This isn’t walking it’s just rolling through the shoe.
Your feet don’t have to do any work whatsoever.
Your muscles don’t have to do anything.
Your joints don’t need to move.
The nerves can’t feel the floor to tell your brain how to navigate over different terrains.
Your feet get cold because there is restricted circulation – due to inactive muscles.
Thick socks don’t always work either do they? That’s because they are making the problem worse. Making your shoes tighter and adding an extra layer for your feet to NOT feel the floor.
The nerves not being able to do their job, affects your ability to balance. Your proprioception is disturbed, your feet can’t tell your brain what to do when things get a bit wobbly because they are just feeling thick socks and a smooth flat surface (the sole of your shoe)
You are effectively walking with a blindfold on your feet, taking away an important sense.
Also thick soled shoes that don’t flex with the floor can also cause dangerous slipping, it doesn’t matter how much tred or grip you have on the bottom.
Wearing any footwear inhibits your foot movements – it’s like you are putting them to bed and they can switch off. If you spend an evening barefoot you will notice how much your feet wiggle and jiggle without you even having to think about it.
This generates muscle movement, promoting better circulation, better nerve stimulation, joint mobility and muscle strength and flexibility.
What do you recommend Nic?
I recommend going barefoot as much as possible – if you are new to barefootedness you may get tired achy feet, so start a few minutes or hours a day and build up from there. Humans have spent thousands of years unshod, populations are still unshod and have great foot function. We now wear shoes, we now have shoe technology, we have shoe support and cushioning (I haven’t even mentioned these yet…) and we now have more foot dysfunction than ever before.
Your feet don’t need external support – you have all the tools in your feet to do the job, it’s just that shoes have made them unable to do the job they are designed for.
Extra cushioning what’s that all about…? You don’t need extra cushioning your feet have naturally built in shock absorbers – they are just broken because they haven’t been used in decades – they have gone rusty and stiff.
Your ‘fallen arches’ have become too reliant on shoes with arch support, so they have become lazy because they are not needed. This can be related to your hip health too.
Going barefoot gets things start to work better – there is no external support or cushioning, no toe squish, no heel lift, no stiff thick soles, no toe springs, no technology.
I recommend footwear with zero heel lift, a wide toe box, and thin and flexible sole – this allows your feet to move, muscles to work properly, joints become less stiff, foot pain symptoms will reduce, your hip health will improve too. Reducing pelvic floor dysfunction, lower back pain, knee pain and improve posture and balance. Also reducing the risk of injury.
I recommend making small changes, taking things easy – so the transition is less likely to cause injury. Making the changes too quickly can cause injury because your feet aren’t ready for it… YET.
Start by going barefoot as much as possible and doing the exercises in the FREE membership …from the feet up to help with muscle strengthening, and joint mobility.