Our feet are the foundation of our body. They're made up of 26 bones (that’s 25% of the bones in the body!), 33 joints and more than 100 muscles.
In order to support the weight of our bodies, these bones, joints and muscles need to be mobile enough so that we can walk with ease.
With every step, there is a rebounding, wave-like energy that travels throughout the body from the ground up. And when the feet are tight that energy is hindered and cannot flow up through the legs, to the hips and spine.
Why are tight feet a problem?
The movement of our body’s fluid systems (blood and lymph) and electricity system (nerves) are essential to overall health. Both the fluid and the electricity need space to flow throughout the entire body.
Tight feet restrict the movement of fluid and electricity. Especially in the battle against gravity.
Everytime you step, the pressure placed through the foot against the ground acts like a pump to push energy back up the body. If the foot is immobile, it's more like a brick hitting the ground, rather than a bouncy ball.
Your toes are especially important.
Think of your hand. Think of how useful your fingers are.
Think of the connection between your hand picking up a bag and how that affects your shoulder.
Have you ever reached back in your car to grab something and tweak your shoulder? Ouch!
The relationship between the feet and legs is very similar. Each step with your feet affects the hips.
Being able to spread the toes, like you spread your fingers, is extremely helpful for balance, posture and feeling strong in your body.
Pain, numbness and tingling are all warning signs that your feet don’t have enough space.
There are many reasons why you may be experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet. Things like, past injuries, build-up of scar tissue, inflammation, etc.
But, one thing is for sure, stretching your feet and doing things to increase the blood flow to your feet will help.
Many painful conditions of the feet, like heel pain, bone spurs and plantar fasciitis, can be mitigated or avoided by creating more mobility in the feet.
Given how much we rely on them, when there is a loss of mobility, sensation or use of the feet, it can have a major psychological impact on your life.
When I ruptured my achilles in 2021, not being able to bear weight on my left leg for 14 weeks was one of the biggest mental challenges I’ve had to navigate so far. And today, I’m still dealing with the repercussions of nerve and tissue damage from the injury.
The body works as a unit. When you injure your left ankle, you compensate by walking with a limp and using your right side in different ways. And if you don’t do things to help your body recover, to bring your body back to balance, years of compensation can be extremely taxing on your spine. Leading to sciatica, back pain, neck pain, headaches and more.
So, what can you do about the health of your feet?
First, evaluate your footwear.
Most conventional shoes have a problematic design. They have rigid, inflexible soles and tight toe boxes that restrict proper foot movement.
If your feet are crammed into shoes all day, this can lead to poor circulation in the feet, which leads to poor posture, feeling off-balance, ungrounded and pain.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a whole closet full of cute boots and heels. But, after a night of dancing in heels, I make sure to show my feet some love by stretching my calves and spreading my toes.
Second, Learn to use your toes.
Especially your big toe.
And that begins with stretching the feet.
Add foot care to your self care.
Here are a few practices you can do daily to start taking better care of your feet:
👉🏼 Elevate your legs above your heart.
Put your legs up on a wall or chair or couch. Start with 3 minutes. Build up to 20.
👉🏼 Massage your feet.
Use oil and draw circles around the soles of your feet. Interlace your fingers between your toes and rotate your ankles around.
Foot Massaging benefits:
- Improves circulation
- Reduces hip and lower back pain
- Reduces the effects of depression and anxiety
- Can help improve the effects of migraines
- Assists in lowering blood pressure
- Reduces irritation and pain
- Helps transport oxygen through the body
Drink more than you think. Keep the urine a light yellow.
👉🏼 Soak your feet in epsom salts.
Magnesium does wonders for tight tissue.
👉🏼 Walk around with bare feet.
Try walking barefoot whenever possible to allow natural movement in your feet and to connect with the earth.
Get your feet on the grass or in dirt. Everyday.
For thousands of years, ancient healing traditions have taught the importance of taking care of your feet as part of an overall health routine.
Reflexology from TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is a therapy that focuses on relieving tension from the feet through acupressure points. It is based on the belief that all body systems are mirrored in the smaller areas of the hands and feet.
In Ayurveda, it is taught that massaging the feet is one of the best ways to increase circulation and support overall health.
So, whether you spend all day on your feet and sit behind a desk, don’t forget your feet! Take care of your feet and then will continue to support you on all your journeys.
Hi I’m Jessi,
For the past 10 years, I’ve been helping people of all ages & fitness levels reframe their relationship with movement. As a Holistic Fitness Trainer, I not only train people’s bodies, I also help them shift their mindsets to see movement as a tool for mental well being & physical vitality.
My goal is to provide accessible health & fitness content in a welcoming space. I simplify how the body works to help you stay active & injury-free.
There is no one-size-fits-all, but there are building blocks that we all can use to better understand what our body’s need, so we can design movement regimens that work for each of us.
My coaching style focuses on strong foundations of body awareness & stabilization. I combine techniques from Yoga, Pilates, Strength Training, Massage Therapy & Mindfulness to craft well thought out & customized training plans to support all clients. To read more about my certifications, click here.