I’ve recently been reminded of how individual our footprints are, having met so many different feet through my Rolfing sessions these past weeks.
One thing I notice amongst the variation is that most of us, as civilised shoe-wearers, carry the imprint of our shoes in our tissues: toes that are cosied up a bit too snugly next to each other tell the story of too-narrow toe boxes and a near constant plantar flexion (toes pointed) tells the story of the height of the shoe-heel (yes, even in the plimsolls/flats)…
As babies, we don’t really have much of a ‘heel’ because we aren’t really walking yet and the foot is part of the line of the leg. But as walking-standing adults, it’s really helpful to have a functional heel to help distribute and support weight.
Unfortunately, most of the shoes on offer have big cushy heels which make our feet a little bit plantar-flexed all the time and gradually, we lose the capacity for the heel to dorsiflex and the toes end up doing the grunt work.
Here’s what the ubiquitous Wikipedia has to offer on ‘barefoot’:
“(Left) plaster cast of an adult foot that has never worn shoes displaying natural splayed toes (Right) cast of boy showing damage and inward-turned toes after wearing shoes for only a few weeks”
(A few weeks!!!)
So… even just a daily taste of freedom might help: 20 minutes barefoot, with all profits going to increased overall stability. Of course, moving to a sunny warm beach has multiple benefits beyond barefoot opportunities
Jennifer-Lynn offers the intelligent myofascial work of Rolfing at We Are Wellness.