Last summer, I tried out kayaking and paddleboarding for the first time! It was so much fun! But what I learned is that paddleboarding requires balance and a lot of core. After falling off twice, I managed to get the hang of it, but I also got a severe cramp in my left foot. The next day the same thing happened to my right foot, but it was less painful. It reminded me of how important it is to take care of our feet and how they affect our balance.
Feet are one of the most used body parts and yet the most neglected. Improper shoes, bad body mechanics, and physical alignment are just a few of the ways our feet take a pounding.
While standing, have you ever looked down and noticed where your feet are? Does one foot (or both) have the toes pointed in or out? Is one foot more forward than the other? You can even look at your shoes and notice where the soles are more worn.
For me, I've noticed that I tend to roll my feet outward and put more pressure on the back of my heels, which has led to a lot of rolled ankle injuries. 8 out of 10 Americans have suffered from foot pain. Being more aware of your footing can not only help in day to day life, but it can also help with your work life, gym, and physical pain. Putting undue stress on the feet will also put excessive pressure on the legs, knees, hips, and low back, causing more unnecessary pain. Healthy feet are an essential part of wellness! So what can you do to take better care of your feet?
Here are 4 ways or suggestions to help your feet:
Ditch the shoes! Go barefoot if you can, whenever possible. Let your foot find its natural shape. Too often, shoes tend to change the foot's form, and you lose flexibility and the use of small intrinsic muscles in the foot that help with balance. Going barefoot can give you better foot mechanics that will help with knee and hip pain.
Get a foot massage. Massage can help with circulation and relieve tension. You can also try out reflexology, which can also help to decrease stress. There are specific points on the foot or "reflex areas" that correspond with different organs and body parts. By applying pressure to these areas, it stimulates those areas and removes blocked energy.
Stretch the feet and ankles. In the morning, before getting out of bed, flex both feet forward and then roll the ankles around. You might even try a resistance band to help the stretch. This may help anyone who sufferers from plantar fasciitis.
Work on balance exercises. Balance exercises can help strengthen the foot and ankle. Try standing on one foot at a time and see how it feels. Hold for a few seconds. Gradually increase the time. You can also stand on the balls of your feet and hold as long as you can. You can also try a stability disc or cushion. This would be great for working the core as well.
Healthy feet are vital to a healthy lifestyle! Increasing your awareness of how you use your feet and incorporating these few suggestions may strengthen your feet and ankles and increase proprioception and body awareness. With healthier feet, who knows what kind of adventures you could enjoy!
Depending on the session length, we usually incorporate some massage on the feet within our sessions but did you know you could get a whole session devoted entirely to your feet?!? Schedule your 30 or 60-minute foot massage at Bull City Soles today and make those feet happy happy happy! Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more self-care tips!