What do your feet have to do with your whole body health? Are they that important? Can’t I just wear orthotics or cushy shoes and call it a day? Aren’t my toes supposed to be smushed together in the shape of my favorite shoe?
Why am I so enamored with feet these days? Uhh, why wouldn’t I be!
(Body nerd alert! Body nerd alert! Come on, you know you’re one too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this!)
Let’s start with baby feet. We all started with baby feet, after all.
I am in the middle of my 2 year biomechanics-based certification as a Restorative Exercise Specialist with Nutritious Movement. What is Nutritious Movement? It’s a “whole-body movement program that utilizes exercises, alignment adjustments, and habitat (lifestyle) changes to better move all trillion of your body’s parts.” Or as I like to phrase it, (re)discover how to use and move your body while adjusting the lifestyle habits that got you in this pickle. Or something along those lines. I began nerding out on feet several years ago when I was introduced to the Nutritious Movement blog of Biomechanist, Katy Bowman. She’s the creator of this program and best-seller author of many o’ books, including Whole Body Barefoot and Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief. As you read through her blog posts, listen to her podcasts, take an online movement class or read one of her many books, you’ll begin to notice a trend. If the focus is on one area, say “foot pain relief”, she’ll spend much of the time on other areas of the body. Say, the calves, hamstrings, standing alignment and posture. Say what? Why?
Let’s compare your body to a ball of yarn. If you pull on a string, it will tug down the line and you’ll notice the ball changing shape somewhere else. You tug on another string and the ball changes shape in another unforeseen spot. You can’t really see where it’s connected, but you know it is. This reminds me of how your body works because you’re made up of trillions of cells. And all the cells touch other cells. Together, these cells create tissues, which form into things like organs, muscles and all the stuff in between (including fascia). It’s all connected.
With that said, let’s give your hamstrings some love…
So how you treat your feet will influence the happiness of your knees, pelvic floor, back and so on. So cool!
I do not know how everything is connected (where do all those strings in that ball of yarn attach?), but I do know that everything is connected. I think this “everything is connected” approach gives you a sense of empowerment over your health. It certainly does for me. It creates a broader perspective for you to apply when dealing with any health issues.
When I had plantar fasciitis, I learned that this was the symptom (where I was experiencing pain) caused by a bigger issue. My right gluteus muscle was no longer firing properly. Meaning, it wasn’t doing what it was supposed to be doing. So every time I walked, stood, sat, squatted, sat on the toilet, ran or anything else where my gluteus muscle should be playing a role, it wasn’t. And the rest of my body had to take the slack for that. Important to note: I went to professionals who also approach health from a whole body perspective. Always do your vetting. Don’t know anyone? Ask around. I saw Dr. MaryAnne Harrington and Dr. Stephanie Tyson. Two very different styles yet both approach an issue with your whole body health in mind (they focus on the cause of the issue, not just the symptom, yay!).
Even though you need to address how you use your entire body when it comes to your foot health, you still need to address your feet! Try this one on for size…