If you're interested in reading more on ideas presented in the article below, I suggest reading Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief. If you'd like movement instruction via video, start with Schoolhouse Series Snacks: Toes and Calves.
Last month on our Facebook page I posted a link to a great article by Nicholas A Campitelli on What Happens To Our Feet When We Wear Running Shoes because it had great images that show how athletic shoes have a positive heel (yes they do, yes they do)! Read it (here) when you have a chance.
Not unrelated to a discussion on shoes, the weather is beginning to warm. Not everywhere, but in some places, like where I am right now:
(I am fully accepting jerk status from those of you still looking out your window and seeing white.)
No matter where you live, pretend it’s warm enough to start thinking about “spring shoes," but before you reach for the flip flops, read this: When you wear shoes that don't connect to your foot (flip flops, slides, mules, slippers) this is how your lower leg and foot are forced to respond. (I've left out some of the foot as I am also cooking breakfast.)
The "grip" to keep footwear on curls some toe bones up and some down, drives the end of some bones into the ground creating higher-than-normal pressure (hello fracture!) and drives the ends of some bones up into the top of the shoe (corn, calluses). I won't even mention the the tension down the front of the leg -- you’ll find it yourself during this exercise:
This “top of the foot stretch” helps undo the chronic tension in both the toes and in the front of the ankle. Follow it up with our gait-specific calf stretch:
For funsies, check out this celebrity’s flip-flop grip! Then, do your own experiment: Slow your flip-flop walk a bit and check out what your toes reflexively do in order to keep your flop on.
Now go do your stretches again and read my book for more foot-restoring exercises (including whole-body ones that get the weight off the front of the foot. That is all.
(P.S. Just like correctives for people who wear heels doesn't only apply to high heels (running shoes have heels too), "flip flop" correctives are for those who wear ANY shoes that don't attach to your foot. Any and every kind of slip on. M'kay? And actually now that I think of it, they apply to people who wear no shoes but wear their pelvis way out in front causing the same compensatory motions and loads in the feet and lower leg. Which means these exercises are for everyone, the end.)
Carl, T., Barrett S. 2008. Computerized Analysis of Plantar Pressure Variation in Flip-Flops, Athletic Shoes, and Bare Feet. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association Volume 98 Number 5 374-378.
Shroyer, J., Weimar W. 2010. Comparative Analysis of Human Gait While Wearing Thong-Style Flip-flops versus Sneakers. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, Volume 100 Number 4 251-257.