If you are training with me, or have ever even talked to me about my shoes, or lack of, you know I am very foot-centric. ”Why the foot?”, you may ask…if it’s your knee, hip or shoulder bugging you.
You can’t ignore the foot for long, that would be very much like ignoring the tires on your car. If you ever got a flat, you probably pulled off on the side of the road and did what you could to save yourself and your vehicle.
We do the same with training your feet – we take your shoes off, see how stiff the foot has become from wearing shoes and misuse and take the steps necessary to make it a healthy and functioning piece of equipment so you can hit the road. Oftentimes, your other issues, like that bum knee and nagging low back pain, go away by themselves.
One way we misuse the feet is by pointing them out. In this video Katy Bowman, founder of the Restorative Exercise Institute and my dear mentor, explains what that does to your knees. Check it out and see how you can get your feet straight!
Now, once you have your knees straight, oftentimes placing the femur and the foot where they belong lifts the inside of the foot off the ground. The forces in your hip and the foot don’t exactly match because you have been using your foot as one whole piece stuffed in a stiff shoe for a majority of your life.
To the rescue comes forefoot eversion. This is a fancy way to say that the front part of the foot, where the ball of the foot is, moves in (or toward the ground) relative to the back side of the foot (the one that has the heel). A lot of the muscles we use for that action are weak or asymmetrically developed and that can lead to a host of issues.
Last week while playing on the beach in Ventura with some of my colleagues, we experimented with a fun way to use seaweed and the sand to train the foot. Check it out and let me know what you think!