Our feet are so often overlooked & ignored until something goes wrong. However our feet really do deserve far more attention & I’m not referring to getting a pedicure!
Where would we be without our feet? They carry us around throughout our day, they provide us with support as we go about our daily tasks & they are are our connection to the earth. It’s when we begin to walk as toddlers & that we begin to have a sense of ourselves as individuals. We begin to develop our own independence. In fact its the way we contact the earth through our feet that says a great deal about how we live our lives & relate to others.
I invite you to take a look at your feet. Do your toes all cluster together? If so try separating your toes & give them some independence. Start to stretch the skin between your toes by pushing your fingers in between them. This also stimulates the sensory connections around the toes & it helps you to wake up your feet & to sensitise them.
Now I invite you to notice how much movement you have around your heel. Try pulling your heel back & notice whether the heel bone itself will move in relation to the other bones at the centre of you foot. Then press gently into the sole of your foot, massage it & rub along the length of your foot. This will also help you to wake up your feet. Try to pull your toes backwards, in the direction of your ankles. If you have bunions pay particular attention to your big toe. Try to stretch it away from your other toes, turn it so that the nail of your big toe faces upwards rather than twisting towards the others.
Now notice how your feet feel. Do they feel any more alive? Gently begin to stretch them by coming down on to all fours. Tuck the toes of one foot under & gradually drag that foot backwards away from you, stretching out the toes, the sole of the foot & eventually create more length in the ankle & your Achilles tendon.
When you’ve done that, tuck your toes under & stretch the front of the ankle & the top of your foot. The front of the ankle often becomes quite tight & its movement as we age becomes more restricted.
Stiff ankles are often the cause of falls
This area is related to our reflex reactions & when tight & stiff , it leads to a lack of balance & increases the potential for falls. Its very important to keep our ankles soft & supple. Daily routines – even stretching them out while in bed will help to maintain the flexibility of our very important shock absorber joints!
Now find a step, or use a foam block or a large heavy book & lean them against a wall. Place your toes on the the edge & begin to gradually, sink the ball of your foot down on to the floor until your toes are bent up, & the rest of the foot is on the floor. Put all your weight in to this leg. If possible, now begin to gently bend your knee. Try to create a strong stretch through your ankle, calf, Achilles & sole of your foot. Softly bend & straighten a few times, being careful not to collapse the inner arch of your foot to the floor.
When you’ve done both sides, take a short walk around the room, just noticing any differences in your feet. They may feel more awake, more sensitive, more grounded.