Treat Your Feet Right, One Secret to Vibrant Health
Written By Kristi Gabriel, Licensed Massage Therapist, Calm Spirit Acupuncture and Massage and Christine Issel
There’s an old saying: When your feet hurt, you hurt all over. We tend to lose sight of the fact that our feet are connected to the rest of our body and the major role they play in our health and ability to be active.
Just how important are the feet? We depend on them for the 5000+ steps we take each day. If you weight 150 lbs. that means 350 tons of pressure is applied daily to your feet! An extra ten pounds of body weight adds 100 lbs. to your lower back, 90 lbs. to your knees and 25 tons to your feet! It’s no wonder it seems your feet are screaming at you.
Just as we continually take care of the others parts of our body, we need to realize our feet change over the years too. For women who have had children, their feet usually increase a shoe size or two with each pregnancy. Why? The hormone, relaxin, relaxes the ligaments in the feet causing the structure to elongate.
Shoe size also changes as we gain or lose weight. Logically we don’t wear the same clothes that we did years ago (most don’t), so why should we think that we could wear the same size shoes? In addition, styles and manufacturing sizes have changed, so it is important to allow ½” past the longest toe for length and be able to wiggle our toes easily for comfortable width. We also don’t tend to look at our heels for wear nor feel inside the shoe for toe print impressions or breakdown of shoe insole.
According to Dr. Simon Wikler, the foot is an engineering marvel designed to move in over 150 directions. However, most of us take our mobility for granted as we age until we don’t have it anymore. Here are 4 easy steps to take today to care for your feet so they can serve you well over your lifetime.
- Buying the right size and style of shoes
- Foot bath with essential oils or Epsom salts (do at home)
- Seeing a reflexologist for stress reduction of feet and rest of body.
- Foot exercises
Have you Checked Your Shoes Lately?
Let’s start by correcting some myths. Your feet don’t change. WRONG.
People’s feet do change and sizes do differ from shoe to shoe. Consider that increased weight of just 10 pounds puts a minimum of 35 tons of additional pressure on the feet daily. In addition, the weight change will alter the foot structure, the ability to balance, decrease leg circulation and increase swelling in feet. Medications can change circulation or contribute to swelling as well. Dehydration can contribute to changes in lower extremities. The farther away from the heart, the greater likelihood of dehydration occurs.
Fit will differ from shoe to shoe, even within the same style and size. One can no longer walk into any store, ask for a size 8 and count on it to fit. Not only will shoe sizes differ but the widths vary as well. Shoes made in Asia will not be the same length/width as those made in Europe or US.
Look at your feet daily. Check for swelling, sweating, corns, calluses, bunions, hammertoes etc. These may have occurred all due to a particular pair of shoes that you do not want to give up. A person can experience foot problems with just 10 minutes of wearing a bad shoe.
No matter how much bodywork you receive, especially on the feet, it will be a waste of time and money if you continue wearing ill-fitting shoes. Ask yourself, “How long would I wear a vice on my head?” Some would reply that it depends on what color the vice was. The change of your foot structure will cause you to compensate how you walk and how far. Abnormal nail growth, discoloring of toe flesh etc. are examples of the vice grip being created by a particular pair of shoes. Don’t give them away—pitch them!
Many are wearing shoes one to two sizes too small. When shopping for shoes and you see a style you like, try on three sizes: ½ size smaller, suggested size and 1/2 size larger. You will be surprised at what a half size difference can make. One half size is only 1/6” of an inch but that is a lot to a joint and may take the pressure off the toes.
Review your shoes every six months. Check both inside and out. Look for wearing down of heels and toe indentations inside. DON’T turn them into yard work shoes. They’ve already worn out their purpose.
Don’t spend 2 minutes looking for shoes. Spend two hours. Don’t settle for less because they cost less. Your feet are worth more. They are 2% of body weight carrying 98%. Check return policy at store. Wear new shoes around house for a day before deciding they are yours. Happy feet can last a lifetime!