Are your feet and toes healthy?
This might seem like a weird question. We often don’t think about the health of our feet – we’re more concerned with the health of our lungs, our hearts, our shoulders, and backs…but we don’t think much about our feet. Which, when you think about it, is kind of crazy because those are the things that hold the rest of us up. We’re on them all day but we never give them the attention they deserve!
There are a few movements that your feet and toes should be able to do to be considered in good health.
– Your toes should spread easily
– Your feet/ankles should be able to point and flex
– When standing, your knees should be able to go over your ankles if you start to bend them into a squat or lunge position
– You should be able to move each toe individually of the others
If you’re reading that list thinking, “there’s no way my feet and toes do all of those things”, then keep reading for some tips to get things moving well.
Buy Toe Spreaders
They’re cheap on Amazon (here’s the one that I have: Toe Spreaders from Amazon) – put them on when you’re hanging out watching tv and let your toes spread and air out!
Don’t Wear Shoes with a Small Toe Box
Shoes are some of the worst things for our feet. Our toes should be able to spread easily, but most of our shoes are not designed for this – they push our toes together and cramp our feet. This is particularly true for women’s shoes. Try switching to shoes that have a wide toe-box like Birkenstocks so that your toes have room to exist!
Point and Flex Your Feet Multiple Times a Day
When you’re watching TV or just relaxing, try pointing and flexing your feet 3-5 times/side. Try to get as much range of motion as you can out of both of these movements.
Let Your Knees Go Past Your Ankles
(if You Have that Range of Motion)
Not everyone has this range of motion, but if you do, you should use it. There’s a misconception that your knees shouldn’t go past your ankles in the fitness world. This is wrong. You wouldn’t be able to climb stairs or sit down if this was the case. Give it a try if you don’t believe me!
That being said, people with certain knee issues do have to be more careful because if there is tissue damage your knee might absorb the pressure differently than a healthy knee. If your doctor has told you to avoid this movement then listen to your doctor. But if you have healthy knees, let them bend as much as they can in moves like a squat or lunge!
Try Lifting Your Big Toe to Start
This is the easiest toe to lift individually. Push the others down, or try using your hand on the other 4 toes to then lift your big toe separately of the others. I used to do this while I was waiting for the subway when I lived in NYC. You can do it when you’re waiting in line just a few times. Even if you can’t lift it – just keep thinking about trying to lift your big toe and eventually it will move.
It’s like the scene in Kill Bill where she gets paralyzed and lays in the back of a car trying to wiggle her big toe – she keeps saying it over and over again and eventually, her brain catches up and moves her big toe. Check out the clip below if you’ve never seen the movie because it’s a perfect representation of how movement works – it’s all in your brain!
I’d love to hear from you – how many of these healthy foot/toe moves can you do? Drop me a comment and let me know and then keep me posted about how things improve as you try out the tips above!