“The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art” – Leonardo da Vinci
If we were trees, our feet would be our roots. They keep us grounded and upright (sometimes they are even the cause of our clumsiness). In my opinion, they are parts of our body that are overlooked. Can they be nasty and ugly? Oh, for sure. I know that when I danced en pointe and was at Irish dance class 4 times a week that they were covered in cuts and blisters. A dancer’s feet are treated pretty harshly. Other people’s feet freak me out for real and it definitely bothers me if anyone touches mine. That being said, you can never underestimate the power of those little things.
As a girl that has broken her fifth metatarsal on my right foot and six months later broken the fourth metatarsal on my left foot – I think that I understand just how your feet can screw you over if you don’t take care of them. My second break occurred in the middle of a performance on stage at a competition. Was it painful? Oh yes. In retrospect I see that I broke it because I was compensating for the break on my other foot. Had I taken my rehab more seriously, I definitely could have prevented it. It was a harsh lesson learned.
Your foot is deceptively complex: there are 26 bones in each foot, that is 25% of the bones in your body! A foot also contains 33 joints, over 100 ligaments and 19 muscles. Holy smoking jackets!
I think that taking care of your feet is especially important for anyone who practices yoga regularly or who runs. When you are conditioning your body you are primarily thinking about your abs, legs, arms and back. When do you think about your feet?! We regularly hear in yoga that if you root and ground through your feet, your posture can become more erect and balancing will become easier. If you work your feet in to your regular conditioning practices, you will find that you feel more complete. How else do you expect your ankles to keep you up?
Now, for some ways that we can make our feet fit! These are some exercises that you can even do while you are watching tv.
Check out these two websites for exercises:
Also, it is great to do some exercises with a thera-band if you have one handy.
- Place the thera-band around the ball of your foot and simply point and flex while holding the ends of the band in each of your hands while pulling to give a bit of resistance. They demonstrate this in following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL5feWVqqPY
I do these while I’m watching tv. I don’t have very high arches and my feet are naturally lazy. So I am trying to work with them right now so that they don’t cramp up when I even try and pointe them.
Needless to say, our feet are super important. You can strengthen your ankles and arches by doing these exercises. I also find that it is easier to straighten my leg while doing strengthening and conditioning exercises when my foot is pointed. If you can keep your legs straight in leg lifts or in yoga when it is required, you will actually build up leaner muscle.
Your feet really are magical. It is incredible to think how complex they are and how much we truly rely on them every single day. Feet fit are happy feet!