What is all this barefeet hype about?
To start the conversation rolling ask yourself this, how many hours of the day do you keep your feet in the closed space of your shoes? If you're like most people, chances are you've got an average of about 10 hours that those feet are crammed up & not allowed to move, as much as they are meant to. Chances are as well that you can't do a full squat & needless to say you can't as well do a single leg squat. How do we know this? Well if your feet can't move(lacking mobility), your ankle can't move(lacking mobility & it just goes upwards till your spine / neck!
Choose your shoes, wisely
Changing your posture, being more mobile, & a host of other benefits associated with being at best with your wellbeing is as simple as choosing your shoes. Wearing shoes that acts like a cast over your feet dampens the ability to allow them to move, stabilise & engage in elasticity to help generate force & even distribute it. A shift in your feet's ability to do these few things calls for a compensation upwards, thus when you have pain in your knee of hips, you would need to look at the base of your body & work your way up. In acute cases where symptoms are showing up as aches in your calves, knees & hips, you would be best trying to move those feet for two weeks, to mobilise & strengthen them up at least twice a day. Our feet takes our whole body into consideration to transfer load, stabilise you from falling & allow of full movement from squatting down and standing up without restriction. If your feet is locked & has adapted to your shoe when you take them off, it's good to know you need to shop for shoes that allow your feet to move freely than it already is. If you haven't read the article on foot pain & what causes inflammation, then read it here.
What will happen if i keep wearing shoes that's too small?
Wearing shoes that locks your feet's movement may lead to:
How to check if your ankles are locked
How to fix it (Self management/ care)
Massaging the Plantar Fascia
Grab a tennis ball or if you can find a lacrosse, even better. A tennis ball to start with if you have extremely tight PF(plantar fascia), it will be extra tender, meaning painful. If you have moderate to low tightness, the lacrosse ball would be an ideal one. Start by standing and place either ball(lacrosse / tennis) on the bottom of your foot, and apply enough pressure to cause a light tolerable discomfort but not pain. Look at the picture above and you see the three blue dots that makes a "triangle", it's most important that you cover the "triangle" while moving your feet back& forth with constant pressure for two minutes. Next, you place the ball in a spot, apply pressure and you take your toes through certain range of motion such as pointing the toes up/ down & change to the next tender point & so on. Repeat for 2 minutes, and change foot.
How to Squat correctly & progressively
Babies are babies, adults go through different morphological changes as we take on different lifestyle demands. Some of us may never see ourselves in this range anymore but as long as you can squat & stand up comfortably that is all that matters. When you squat down to your fullest abilities, make sure to not allow you heels to lift off the floor. Right before your heels come off the floor, you stand straight back up. Progressively, you want to do your squats as frequent but with little to low volume of loading, which means, mostly body weight that you already have! Don't load more if you can't even deal with your own body, you have to earn the loading process as it comes together with building confident with your central nervous system. You are more likely to succeed squatting better & increasing your range of motion, strength & stability faster if you keep it to low loading versus high loading(extra weight). Squat 10 repetitions and spread them throughout the day as many as you can find time for, & do this at least four to six times a week for three - four weeks. Take a picture of before & after. A video as well would come in handy if you want to see any mistakes that you are doing that makes your squat "bad".
In an ideal world, you would walk around just above the earth with your feet touching the floor. But, that is not what's happening now as time are changing, floors are flatter, filled with concrete, shoes are smaller etc etc, but your feet should be at the expense of everything else that is changing around. The shoe epidemic is creating such big ripples in the healthcare system that it's costing millions of dollars to fix low back pain, knee pain, & to custom orthotics & so on, which all came by after the feet being locked up and have lost their function. Take some time to allow your feet to be exposed to uneven grounds & let them take you for a ride & adventure. The best way is to go for nature treks, climb mountains, walk the beaches an so on. If being barefeet is not your thing, then buy some of these to allow yourself to still expose your feet to movements:
How long will i see results?
Well that depends on how long you have allowed your feet to adapt to your current condition(s) of pains, aches, injuries & so on. You would need to be aware as well of how your body is reacting to the environment or dose it nicely so that you don't under-dose your bare-feet time. It's important to realise that if you change nothing, then nothing will change. Be patience & keep it going with all the works that you have to do to manage your pain or be a bit more functional in your daily activities. Your wait for seeing results can be anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 weeks & all of it will depends on the factors of your lifestyle and dosing of your "feet's barefeet time & activities". Remember, when you have pain, your body mechanics are not functioning properly, causing compensations that may be affecting you as symptoms & signs of pains & discomfort, simple as that.
All the best with this & let us know how it goes on for you till 6 week later!
PS: If all that is too much hard work, you can find professionals who will let you know what to do during our Super Stretch Class. Click below to attend a Super Stretch Class.