Painful Plantar Fasciitis & Stabbing Bone Spurs. What to do.
I find it interesting that nowadays we are finding more and more adults who are flat-footed, but when we come out of the womb, our feet start out having a nice concave shape to them. There are several contributing factors to the disappearance of our intended foot shape and some might not be fixable.
Thankfully, one simple solution is spending some time out of those stinking shoes! Yes, your shoes stink, figuratively and literally.
Flat feet have evolved from our habits, not from being born that way. We have prolonged days of wearing shoes starting as soon as we wake up for our morning workout, throughout the day at work, and into the evening at the sports fields. Each foot consists of 26 bones.
The area between these bones is meant to move and allow the foot to conform to different surfaces we walk across. If you put a shoe over your foot, you have not only limited the ability of your foot to react to the uneven ground, but also the ability to feel and sense the ground.
Now, I am not saying go all out caveman and completely swear off shoes all together, but start paying attention to how much time you spend with something covering your feet. Truthfully, we do need to wear shoes for the man-made surfaces we spend time pounding our feet on like roads and sidewalks. However, maybe wearing shoes so often has made us become dependent on them.
Our arches are comprised of mainly two things; the muscles in our feet and the plantar fascia, which is that large thick band at the bottom of the foot. If we have shoes that are constantly giving us support to the arcs in our feet, then the muscles do not have to work.
All muscles, large or small, fall into the adage “use it or lose it”, and our foot muscles are no different. So, if these muscles in our feet are becoming weak, guess what takes up all the slack? The plantar fascia does, which is not designed to do all the work by itself.
Say “hello” plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, flat feet and other foot related issues.
All that weight bearing and movement is going straight to that plantar fascia tissue that is incapable of taking on the job of the muscles.
We see flat feet and collapsing arches as our enemies and what do we do? WE GIVE MORE SUPPORT!
We add orthotics like inserts or get shoes with even more support. It seems simple enough and like the right thing to do, but it is not. We are only providing a false sense of support and when removed, so goes the shape of our foot. We are becoming slaves to our own devices. Progressively, we fall victim to a vicious cycle of feeding into a bad system that is perpetuating the problem itself. We want to break that system. Healthy arches = strong feet.
When you think of some of the most famous arcs or arches in the world, does one come to mind? At least in the United States, I can say or hope that the St. Louis Arch comes to mind. No support in the middle yet it is a strong structure.
This centuries old basic design has been used in structures all over the world and is still used. All of the forces in an arc converge in the center piece, also known as the keystone, which creates an almost unbreakable structure. Well, if we force that keystone up with unnatural support, then what will happen to our arc? It will collapse. So why would our feet be any different? Mother Nature has built the perfect design for our upright bodies.
Good news– your feet can be cured! Maybe we can’t blame wearing shoes entirely, but I can safely say all of that constant shoe wearing is not helping. There are more things to consider, but this is a simple step towards stronger feet. So while at your desk (hopefully standing, I might add) kick those shoes off.
Playing in the yard? Play barefoot. At the beach? I hope that goes without saying, but there are those people.
Get those shoes off and let your feet breathe! Make your first step, a barefoot step.