Column 4 - Exercise Your Feet

Original publication date: September 28, 1983

What is extensively used and abused in hockey, football, soccer, golf, tennis, walking, and running, along with many other sports?

The foot.

The foot, which has 26 bones set in a semi-circle, supports all our weight while playing many sports and performing many movements. The secret to the foot's strength lies in the arch, formed by the foot's bones. (Engineers have used the principle of the strength of the arch for centuries in building bridges.)

Wedged in between the shinbone and the calfbone the foot can move up and down, point it's toes in or out, and move from side to de. . for support, the foot is hinged at the ankle for motion. The motion of the foot is aided by flexible toes, which like fingers, can move, wiggle and clutch. The foot makes walking easy and graceful. Or does it?

Watch television and see the many advertisements selling products for your feet. There are commercials for improving the circulation in your poor tired feet, for relaxing your poor tired feet, and for removing blisters and bunions on your poor tired feet. If the foot has all the workings of a beautiful piece of machinery, why do we need so many products?

Because we forget about our feet. We so much want to exercise and care for our slim waists, tight buttocks, muscular chests, and firm thighs, but do nothing for our feet.

Because the foot is farthest from both eyes and brain, a lack of communication occurs which permits us to do things to our feet which we would find intolerable if someone else did them to us.

Hence, the reason for the never-ending line of foot care products.

The condition in which we keep our feet has a very direct effect on other parts of our body as well. The sciatic nerve for example. It is connected to the spinal column, running down the back of the leg to the foot. If the arch under the toes presses on the endings of the sciatic nerve when standing or walking, the result can be lower back pain. Posture problems originating in the feet can cause sore knees, aching leg muscles, stiff necks, and headaches.

Exercising the foot increases circulation, relaxes and tones the muscles, preparing it for any movement to follow whether it be sports or simply walking.

Foot circles are a good beginning. They can be done at the office desk, or standing in the factory assembly line. Slowly rotate one foot (try moving just the foot not the leg) in one direction several times. Change direction. Change feet. You should feel a stretch along the top of the ankle and on the sides of the foot.

Now slowly point the toes on one foot. Flex the foot by stretching the heel to the ceiling. If you feel a cramp when pointing just relax then try again.

Copyright 2020 K.L. McCluskey, all rights reserved.