Let us find freedom through our soles
I believe movement is key to life and energy. Yet we seem to be in an era of bodily stasis, within the Western culture. Our movement range is shutting down and becoming limited to linear planes, we have less and less rotation, flexion, extension and general freedom of movement.
So where does or does not this movement initiate from, when we are walking, dancing & running … our wonderfully complex and often under appreciated feet!
Our feet, for many of us, are our platforms. They are the foundation for our whole structure. Imbalance of this platform will affect tracking in our knees, pelvis, lower back and eventually our neck. Do you suffer from ongoing neck pain? Have a look at your feet. The metatarsals are our first hinge joint in the body. If our metatarsals are jammed it can affect all along our spine.
Katy Bowman refers to ‘Sedentary Feet’, in her podcast ‘Between the Lines – It starts with Feet’
“If our launch pads are blocked and we are moving them less, then our whole body will be moving less”. (KB)
Not only does the foot need to provide support but also absorb shock, transfer force and provide the spring in our step.
Our foot foundation is built on three arches.
The structure of these arches allows them to act as a spring, bearing the weight of the body and absorbing shock. They give the foot its flexibility, facilitating movements such as walking and running.Our plantar fascia (or aponeurosis) is a thick connective tissue, which provides significant support for the arch during weight bearing.
It is a continuation of the calf muscle, and connects the base of the heel to the heads of the metatarsals.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition once thought to be due to an inflammation in the fascia. Research now indicates towards degeneration or micro tearing to the fascia. Symptoms come on gradually and are often worse first thing in the morning, but ease a little when the foot is warmed up.
There may be tenderness under the sole of the foot and on the inside of the heel when pressing in. The pain can range from being slightly uncomfortable to very painful depending on how badly it is damaged.
- Releasing tightness in the hamstrings and calf muscles
- Correcting imbalances in feet/hip
- Rest from the aggravating activity
- Stretches and exercises as home care
Tough ligaments surround the bones of the foot (26 bones and 33 joints in each foot!). These connective straps give strength and stability. Muscles descending from the leg, wrap under the foot and create a stirrup.
Balance and strength between these, (and the other 100 muscles in the feet and ankles!) is essential for stability in the lower leg. As I said at the beginning of this article, our feet are our platforms, therefore affecting and influencing the entire kinetic chain, ankles, knees, hips, spine and neck.
Let’s move our feet
Articulate the bones in your feet and free up the fascia by rolling on a ball. If an area feels tender and ‘stuck’, wait with it until the connective tissue releases. You may want to start on a softer tennis ball. Aim for 2 – 3 minutes everyday.
We have many reflex points in the feet, through stimulating the feet in this way we can affect the whole body, from an energetic and nervous system perspective too.
Walking barefoot is a great way to massage and move the feet. Feel how wonderful the grass feels through the soles of your feet. Shoes can limit our movement range and flexibility. If you have always been ‘shod’, then begin walking barefoot around the house and build up to longer periods of time. Apart form horses, are we the only other mammals to be shod?
Try standing on a towel and grabbing it with your toes by flexing your metatarsals. Great for freeing up the joints.
Simply standing on one foot for a few minutes every day will help with balance and awareness for proprioception. Try it whilst brushing your teeth or waiting for the kettle to boil.
Have fun and enjoy these wonderful feet.
Katy Bowman podcast ‘Between the Lines 5 – It starts with Feet’
Anatomy 5 app