Am I done talking about feet? No. Am I done talking about vacation? Yes. Kind of. Getting back from vacation and dealing with two very tired feet may have partially inspired this blog. So let’s get into it.
We use our feet a lot. We run around on them. We stand on them. We keep them in our shoes. We do all sorts of things to our feet and they do take a beating. But unlike tense shoulders or a stiff neck, we don’t give them much love. Or rest.
Now, part of this is because they are our feet after all. We can’t just not use them for awhile. We can’t hang them up on a wall like we do our shoes. But we can give them some pampering, rest, and support.
The absolute thing on the top of your list if you’re having foot pain, fatigue, or know you need to give you your feet a break is to take off your shoes. Eesh. Too many of us wear shoes all the time. At work. At home. While working out. While chilling. Some of us only take shoes off when we go to bed.
Not so good.
Take your shoes off. I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before if you followed my blog but it’s such a big deal. Muscles like the soleus atrophy and we lose the function of our lower leg. We become weak and that makes us unbalanced. Balance might not seem important when you’re young but as you age, balance becomes the thing to protect you from a life-threatening fall.
Besides, taking your shoes makes your feet feel so much better. You can wiggle your toes! You can point and flex your feet freely! Giving your feet that range of motion is so important to your foot health.
On the topic of shoes, wear the right ones. I’m a strong “you shouldn’t wear heels that much” kind of person. Or flats. Or converse. Or any ill-fitting shoes. You know what? I’m a gym shoes gal. I wear gym shoes with everything save dresses when I go out for a fancy dinner. I even have a pair of black “dress” running shoes.
There’s a reason for this.
Other shoes are not good for your feet. They give you hammer toes. Bunions. You can break your leg, ankle, foot in them. They shorten your achilles tendon, make it nice and tight and inflexible. They give you bone spurs, shin splints. They hurt your back, your hips, your knees.
Listen, a pair of bad shoes whether it’s heels or flats can ruin your life for a long time. I hit a point where I couldn’t understand why I was wearing these things when I didn’t like them, they hurt me, and there were comfortable options.
I run. I do martial arts. I do yoga. All of which include my feet. So my feet are really important to me. Wearing bad shoes could mean being sidelined for awhile and I really don’t want that.
So what do I do? I don’t wear bad shoes. End of story.
All right, all right. It’s not just about shoes. A lot of foot stuff is just in giving them a little break. If you’re a hardcore runner or cyclist, take some time off from that sport (or lower your mileage) and cross train. Get yourself into a pool. Swimming is a great, great, great cardio workout that has no impact on your joints and, you guessed it, no impact on your feet.
You keep your cardio up and you reduce impact on your joints. You also don’t have to do quit your sport of choice. Just add in days where you aren’t smashing your feet against the ground or into shoes.
Also, don’t be afraid of some pampering. I’m not saying go get a pedicure or a foot massage because I know how expensive that can be. But you can soak your feet in hot water and Epsom salts. You don’t even need a tub since your feet are small.
You can also get a spiked laundry ball to roll your foot over. Get some oils and give yourself a foot rub. It might not be as luxurious as going to a place, but it is sustainable. You can do that every day or even at your desk if you’re using the laundry ball or tennis ball.
Last thing is, look at what you’re doing.
I’m guilty of doing weird things with my feet…like sitting on top of them in chairs. But there are a lot of tiny little things that you could be doing throughout the day without realizing you’re hurting your feet. Sitting on your feet, heel-striking when you run or walk, driving your car strangely, or any number of other things could be messing you up. It might even be if you’re toes are tracking straight or not.
All it takes is a little bit of focus. Pay attention to yourself throughout the day and you might be surprised to find yourself doing something unhealthy for your feet.
Long story short, our feet are an integral part of our body. When they aren’t happy, odds are we won’t be happy. Foot problems cause so many problems because they’re at the bottom and if something’s out of wack with them, it’ll work it’s way up.
So take a minute, give your feet some love. Pay attention to what you’re doing and for the love of all things good, take your shoes off.