Each foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 soft tissue structures that form muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Add in your complex system of nerve endings on the bottom of your foot and holy moly – what a marvel of complex engineering!
Your body needs your feet to be functioning at a high level in order to achieve your next movement goal. But more often than not, your feet have become sleepy & sloppy and there can be negative consequences.
In the social age, fitbits and gadgets help propel some of us to around 10,000 steps per day. Add in the fact that most people don’t wear properly-fitted shoes, or have stiffness in one or more of the 33 joints, and you’ve got a perfect scenario for lousy foot mechanics. This can not only cause bunions, plantar fasciitis, or ankle pain – but can work its way up the kinematic chain and cause knee, low back and believe it or not, even jaw pain.
Shoes are often the culprit because they typically restrict the isolated action of each toe. And if you wear high heels or South Carolina cowboy boots, the situation becomes worse with your toes packed together in the ‘toe box’. This results in poor control of your feet – essentially, your brain can’t remember how to use your feet – they become, for a lack of a better word, dumb.
Here are a few simple, basic tests to determine if you have appropriate motor control of your feet. Stand barefoot with your feet shoulder-width apart. First, can you lift the big toe without elevating the other four toes?
Can you elevate the four smaller toes while the big toe remains on the ground?
Can you spread all of your toes?
If you weren’t able to pass these tests, your feet lack the motor control they need. Practice this drill throughout the day while seated, and then progress to the standing version. It will probably take a few weeks to get it right. You may need to hold down the toes that should remain static with your hand. And yes, those are my feet. Ewww.
The next step is to focus on the shoe dilemma. Remember, regular shoes will keep your toes from moving freely. I haven’t been over to Fleet Feet yet here in GVL, but I hear they do a nice job and have a sound understanding of biomechanical foot function.
Try these tips and bring your feet back to life! Your entire body will thank you!
Until next time!
Dr. David Jolson
If you are curious, or even skeptical, that we could help you with anything from foot & ankle discomfort, spinal pain, shoulder pain, or TMJ issues, reach out to us for a free, no obligation, consultation. Our goal is to get you back to what you love ASAP – rapid #relief #recovery #results.