For many people, there’s nothing nicer now than a good pedicure, or a foot massage to make them feel wonderful. But if you develop a foot problem, seeing a professional chiropodist/podiatrist is part of a good strategy for addressing it – corns, misshapen or misaligned toes, fallen arches, plantar fasciitis – we have a long list of foot problems in our culture!
We can also do far more ourselves to improve and preserve foot health. Obviously we know that extreme fashions such as ‘killer heels’ hurt our feet, but most foot damage is more subtle and accumulates over time. As a postural health teacher I help people understand about natural foot shape and function, and the best ways to improve or support it. Firstly, we can get really savvy about footwear!
Beware! Even ‘sensible’ shoes and trainers can distort the foot if:
- the toe box is rounded
- toes are bent upward by footbed
- body weight is tipped forward
- excess cushioning dulls feedback
- footbed encourages pronation
In addition to better footwear, the best investment of all is to learn how to let the foot do its natural job:
- foot arches are strengthened
- foot is Kidney-Bean shaped, not straight
- landing gently on the heel
- engage whole foot to push off, not bend
- stand with weight mostly in heel
In addition to bad shoes, poor postural habits certainly challenge the feet; for example, standing with the pelvis too far forward and knees locked will thrust undue weight onto the delicate bones of the forefoot, typically causing bunions or claw toes.
Similarly, foot problems such as fallen arches will result in knock-knees and poor posture further up the body. Therefore, a focus on good posture throughout the body, and include some well-chosen foot exercises too could improve the condition and overall health of your feet.