Our feet allow us to walk, run, jump and play. Yet, they are usually a neglected part of most people’s maintenance regiment. Every part of your body is connected and can inter-play with other functions of the body. Personally, I have been dealing with hip and shoulder issues all due to how my foot sets up the rest of my body.
You have all heard the song, “The toe bone is connected to the foot bone…” and so on – Well, there is some truth to that.
Muscle imbalances can cause faulty movement patterns and the foot sets everything in motion along the kinetic chain. The body is always searching for support and if the correct muscle or joint isn’t there to do its job, the body will search elsewhere to dump that energy. This is why it is so important to keep up with body maintenance – We only get one body!
We have to utilize our feet daily and repetitively, usually while wearing shoes that are terrible for our feet. Hundreds to thousands of steps a day will take a toll, so let’s be kind to our feet and help them to relieve tension and relax.
Part of my daily routine is to set a timer for one minute; put a tennis ball on the ground, and roll my foot on it. Starting around the base of my big toe, I move the ball along the medial ridge of my foot until I find a tender spot.
I will then sit on that spot; playing around with the pressure until the trigger point releases. I repeat this process until I get to my heel. Then, I’ll continue the process with the rest of my foot. Boom – one foot done and now time to do the other one.
This process might be painful, but it will be a pleasant pain… and the relief from the muscle opening will make you want to continue this practice. It is very important to breathe deeply during this time to help relax the body.
I have gained better control of my toes and feel more grounded with the floor. My feet literally feel like they are spreading out and covering more surface. The mental relaxation and clarity that you gain will also be reward for sticking through it!
I have also noticed my calves and ankles having increased mobility with less pain and tightness. Since my ankles aren’t as tight, my squat is improving. Who knows what part of your kinetic chain will improve? Just practice it daily and make it part of your routine.
If the tennis ball isn’t the right pressure, you can try a golf ball, lacrosse ball, or a special foot roller.
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