Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and because February has Valentine’s Day, and because Valentine’s Day is all about love, we thought it would be a great month to encourage you to love your feet! Loving your feet means appreciating their incredible and brilliant design and caring for them in a way that supports and encourages their long-term health. Understanding the numerous structures and unique architecture of your feet can help you better appreciate the amazing work your feet accomplish every day. A loving approach, in line with nature’s intentions, can keep you on your feet and out of your healthcare provider’s office, enjoying the activities you’re most passionate about.
The Virtues of Feet
Your feet help carry you around, it’s true, but the virtues of your feet go far beyond simple locomotion. Your feet allow you to run, stand, jump, dance, and climb, and they support your body weight—all without complaint, as long as you respect their natural, brilliant design. Your feet are the foundation of your entire body and musculoskeletal system. Your feet affect the alignment of every other joint in your body, from your knees and hips up through your spine to your skull. Feet are, of course, critical to the gait cycle and help you navigate terrain ranging from dirt to concrete to grass. A healthy foot—a foot in which the toes are splayed and the widest part of the foot is at the ends of the toes—naturally resists excessive pronation, or a rolling inward of the foot and ankle, which helps prevent common lower extremity problems.
An Anatomical Wonder
Your feet are anatomical wonders! They contain 25 percent of the bones in your body, possess between 100,000 to 200,000 nerve endings for sensation, tactile feedback, and movement, and are covered by skin that’s adaptable to various surfaces and protects you from infection. Your feet also possess three unique arches to help bear your body weight, and even the bones in your toes have an arch-shaped design to help manage the stress and strain of walking, standing, and other bipedal activities. Your foot and toe bones are held together by several key ligaments, and the long tendons of your foot and toe flexor and extensor muscles perform an intricate dance to balance the forces acting on your feet and toes. Most of us, however, don’t even think of our feet until something goes wrong. We at Correct Toes and Northwest Foot & Ankle think it’s important to remember that your feet are worthy of love both in times of health and in times of distress.
Ways to Love Your Feet
Showing your feet some love is easy, though it does take time and dedication to keep your feet and toes in top form. Using Correct Toes in combination with a shoe that is widest at the ends of the toes is one of the best ways to love your feet, as Correct Toes helps restore proper toe alignment, helps support your principle foot arch, and helps treat or prevent numerous common foot and toe ailments. The Correct Toes toe-spacing appliance enhances circulation, promotes balance, helps properly distribute weight, and minimizes ball of foot pain, too. Correct Toes are like “cupid’s arrow” for your feet: They show love by respecting each individual toe as well as nature’s brilliant—and intended—design (i.e., a foot with ample toe splay). Wearing foot-healthy footwear is another excellent way to show your feet some love. Healthy shoes possess no heel elevation or toe spring, have a sufficiently wide toe box to allow for toe splay, and possess a flexible sole, and they allow your foot to function like a bare foot inside your shoe.
Other great ways to love your feet include receiving professional massage, acupuncture, reflexology, or chiropractic treatments. Each one of these health disciplines has something unique to offer when it comes to foot health. Having a partner or friend massage your feet (and offering them the same in return) is a great way to love both your feet and a loved one. Ball-rolling exercises can feel great and are another excellent way to show your feet some love, as is performing key stretching exercises, including the toe extensor stretch and the bunion stretch.
Make foot health a priority this February, and show your feet some love!