Fitness Post – The importance of Healthy Feet to Performance 

It’s not a subject people think about much when it comes to affecting physical performance but taking care of your feet will pay dividends in the long term. We usually put our feet into shoes and socks at the beginning of the day and forget about them until we shower and it is only when we have problems with them do we pay them much attention. But if you spend a small amount of thought and time on them, your feet won’t cause the problems that a lot of people have…or will have in the future.

Feet were not designed to be placed into shoes and socks, so you should spend as much time as possible every day in bare feet. A lot of shoe design does not cater for the natural movement of feet and can often distort the shape of them unless you take some care in selecting the shoes you wear if you don’t want this to occur. I have covered the health issues in a previous Health Post of wearing high heeled shoes but if you have a close look at your feet, you can see if there is any distortion even if you have only worn pointed-toed shoes at times (which is most of us). I have also covered the idea about having bare feet in your exercise programs before although nearly all commercial gyms will not allow you to do that if using  a gym is part of your conditioning program . You can get around this problem by wearing very flat soled shoes that also have separate toes compartments such as Vibrum Five-figured shoes …and there are other shoe brands that cater for the natural spread of your toes in movement.

Remember that your feet and foot movement are the first part of the kinetic chain of movement. If they don’t move naturally this can place stress on all joints above them … so realize that knee, hip and back problems can initiate from the unnatural movement of your feet. This is the key reason you should pay some attention to foot care.

So firstly, looking at some foot care ideas – 

  • Make an effort to clean your feet when you shower
  • Wear bare feet as much as you can
  • Regularly cut your toe nails and ensure that they are cut evenly and not close to the quick as this can cause certain health issues. 
  • You can also use a callus sponge if the skin of certain parts of your feet is unnaturally thickened 
  • And always select your shoes for comfort and the natural movement of your feet
  • Work at keeping your feet mobile (some ideas below)

If you need to work at reshaping your feet because you are having problems with them (or back, hip or knee problems as already mentioned) or as a preventative measure, the four exercises below will help  (have bare feet and use a flat, even surface) – 

  • Walk for ten meters on your toes
  • Walk for ten meters on your heels
  • Walk for ten meters on the outsides of your feet
  • Walk for ten meters on the insides of your feet

These are simple exercises, but very effective if you do them every day as part of your warm up before exercising. Of course there are some exercise modes that help keep your feet mobile, but these exercises should be an additional part to your program.

But simple steps will pay great dividends to those very important parts at the far parts of your anatomy?

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