Imagine you are a building. We know that the architectural structure of a building is important because it determines if the building will hold up to stress. A footing is the thing upon which a building rests, here the home meets the soil. It is the first member of the load-bearing structural systems of the home.
The same is true for the human body. Your feet are the foundation for your entire body. Healthy feet benefit your entire body. They must be able to properly support you; allow you to stand, balance, walk, run, and jump; and absorb damaging shock that enters your body every time your heel hits the ground.
Estimates indicate the 80% of people develop some type of foot imbalance by the age of 20, and virtually everyone has foot imbalances by the age of 40. After years of standing, walking, and wearing shoes, the arches of your feet gradually weaken and are not able to provide the necessary support for your body.
Alignment of healthy feet, together with the ankles & heels is important. When we stand, walk or run, we stretch our calf muscles, a lot can be happening in the feet, ankles & heels that will affect body alignment, posture, functional movement, your ability to move well and stay injury-free.
Try this seated Heel Lift & Lower Exercise below:
- Place a mirror in front of you so you can see your feet AND sit tall maintaining good posture
- Take your shoes & socks off, so you can see your bare feet
- Start with your knees & feet hip-width apart, toes pointed straight ahead
- In this position, can you see your heels? Ideally they should be hidden behind the rest of your foot.
- Do you notice the weight more on the outside or inside of your heels?
- Make an adjustment to “hide your heels” did your knees drift in or out? Ideally the knees stay put, the toes stay still and facing straight ahead, and the heel makes the adjustment. If your heel is stuck, it will be difficult (or darn near impossible) to get it hidden behind the rest of the foot!
- Do the best you can right now.
Now, still in your seated position with good tall posture, try this exercise:
Seated Heel Lift & Lower Exercise:
- Inhale and lift the heels to rise up on the balls of your feet.
- Exhale to lower the heels back to the floor.
Ideally, you should be able to rise up on your toes, and lower your heels maintaining good alignment, with your heels hidden (in line with your foot). This is the motion that happens in your foot when you walk and run. If the heel is not tracking correctly when you’re sitting, do you wonder what it’s doing when you’re springing off the ground with every step?
Your healthy feet are the foundation of your body and your body is like a large, interconnected chain; movement at one of your joints affects movement at other joints. If your feet have imbalances or weaknesses, they travel all the way up your body. We can improve our form & function by paying attention to our foundation, the feet.
To improve the health of your feet, click here to discover how massage applied to the feet can transfer benefits to the rest of the body.