Updated: Aug 27, 2021
At least in the USA it is.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population has at least one foot problem annually.
It may be the result of poor fitting shoes, or the result of an underlying health problem such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetes or obesity.
The average person takes approximately 10,000 steps per day, which adds up to three million steps per year. We carry approximately four to six times our body weight across the ankle joint when climbing up stairs or walking steep inclines. Good foot health is essential for an active life.
With 26 bones plus 33 joints, our feet serve as the foundation for the rest of our body. If the feet are not mechanically sound, it can affect the knees, hips and even the lower back. You’ll need your feet to carry you an average of 115,000 miles in your lifetime; therefore, avoiding foot problems should be a priority.
So, as a FOOT HEALTH ADVOCATE, I am taking this opportunity to share 5 Simple ways to LOVE and CARE for your feet, not just in April, but hopefully for the rest of your human life.
Remove your shoes more often - spending any extra time outside the confines of a shoe, with the sensory-rich soles of your feet stimulated by the earth, is a win for your brain, your body and your soul.
Choose Shoes that are light weight, soft soled, thin soled and as "unstructured' as possible. Think "Dunlop Volley's" - cheap and readily available. As a general rule, Your FOOT should dominate your shoe, not the other way around. The best shoe choice is the one that makes your feet feel the best - trust that.
Let your bare feet go "off-road" and experience uneven surfaces, rough surfaces, soft surfaces, warm surfaces, cool surfaces, wet surfaces, dry surfaces, etc The more variety and texture in the surface, the greater the amount of foot joints mobilised and the greater the sensory stimulation to the brain.
Learn to Centre your Pelvis on your feet evenly. 98 % of people are not doing this well. Ideally your pelvis should be suspended evenly between your left and right foot and between the front and rear foot. 25% of your Body Weight in each foot quadrant.
When you brush your teeth every morning, take the opportunity to simultaneously massage the soles of your feet into a fascial release/ spiky ball. Takes 2-3 minutes, yet it wakes up the whole of your feet so that as you move through your day your brain can use more of your feet. Helps you keep upright, balanced and moving well.
Feet are perhaps the most poorly understood part of our human anatomy and there are too many myths which keep us trapped in outdated ways of thinking we need orthotics, "supportive shoes", expensive shoes, etc
Whilst Orthotics have a role, especially in the painful foot, their use should be short term (not long term) and they should always be accompanied with advice on how to retrain other aspects of the foot's function ; strength, mobility and balance. Artificially "propping" a foot with an orthotic, without offering or recommending additional advice on rehabilitation is the equivalent of putting a broken bone in plaster and leaving the cast on indefinitely. Long after the bone has healed it is still caged in a plaster cast and unable to be used. We don't do it to broken bones, why do we do it to feet ?
As my "Foot Guru" colleague Gary Ward says " you only have two feet, why not use them evenly, and use them well ? "
They are with you for life, value them.
To learn more about your feet and how to make them strong, fit and supple, check out my simple online course "Free your Feet" which includes a 15 daily workout for optimal foot function.