Happy Feet: Simple Steps fo Foot Pain Relief by Katy Bowman

September 25, 2017

Your feet are the foundation for your entire body. After all, we stand on them for most of our lives: we use them for walking, running, jumping and more.

Our poor paws endure endless stomping, squishing, cramping, flexing and pointing, which can often lead to imbalances in the structure of our bones, hips and spine. According to biomechanist Katy Bowman, our feet are of prime importance when it comes to maintaining mobility and good balance at any age.

In her book, Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief, Bowman writes that even though a doctor may have deemed your foot situation irreparable, there are in fact many ways to reverse damage and achieve a healthy foundation for the rest of your body.

Here are three of Bowman’s exercises for keeping your feet healthy and happy:

1. If you’re guilty of wearing heels often, then the muscle fibers in your calves could be shortened by up to 13%! Bowman suggests stretching out the calf by placing the ball of the foot on a rolled towel while holding onto the wall for balance. Stretching the calf may help diminish heel pain from plantar fasciitis, which is often caused by tight lower legs.

2. Toe spreading. According to Bowman, our feet are crammed into tight shoes so often that the muscles that abduct the toes often become atrophied. While barefoot, try spreading each of your ten toes as far away from one another as possible to strengthen these muscles and free your toes.

3. Drape your foot over a tennis or myofascial release ball, keeping your heel on the ground. Slowly move your foot forward inch by inch until your heel starts to lift off the floor, then switch feet. Bowman says our feet were designed to walk over a variety of rough and uneven terrains barefoot, but since our culture is so used to wearing shoes, the muscles and joints in our feet aren’t accustomed to moving this way. Using a ball will help to stretch and strengthen your feet in the same way a rocky landscape would have back in the day.

Try to hold each of these exercises for at least a minute. Also be sure to keep an eye out on the schedule for an upcoming class completely devoted to keeping your toes, arches and heels happy!

How do you keep your feet happy? Let us know in the comments!