Tag Archive | foot care

Love your feet and toes!

 

As long as we are healthy, we take it for granted that our body functions as it should do.

When was the last time that you thanked your feet for carrying you to your destination – day after day, year after year?

I used to bush-walk and we often talked about boots, orthotics, dome under the ball of the foot, corns and bunions.  No-one of these topics are sexy but as we age the shape of the feet change and we cannot ignore this.

With the arrival of spring it is the right time to exercise our toes which have been enclosed in shoes for months!

Let’s start with the easiest form of exercise: walking barefoot.

Walk 1

You can do it on the beach or walk on the grass. Both are emotionally grounding activities and allow the small muscles in your feet to stretch and strengthen and joints to move.

Be mindful when you walk barefoot.  Notice how you roll onto the ball of the foot and then you push away from the ground.  Progressively increase the time you walk, do not overdo it as you might end up with sore feet.  The sand will dry your feet so use a moisturiser after walking!

I practice the following exercises while sitting.

Blanket folded in 3

Use a blanket or big towel and fold it (see above) to sit on.  Sit towards the rounded edge so your hips roll a bit forward, the spine is upright.  Keep your feet hip width apart.

Toes relaxed

Observe your feet in a relaxed state. Notice the difference between right foot and the left!

Toes stretched

Flex your toes towards you.  Feel that you stretch the back of the legs.  If you are an experienced yogi, pull up your knee caps and quadriceps – just as if you were standing on your feet.  Move your toes away from you.  Repeat this cycle 5 times – 2 or 3 times a day.

Toes spreading

Spread your toes.  Observe if there is an asymmetry between the right and left foot.  If you have a bunion like me the joint stiffens and the gap between the big toe and second toe decreases.

Toes fist

Make a fist with your toes.  Repeat this cycle 5 times – 2 or 3 times a day.

Work the sole of the foof

Bend the legs and bring the soles of the feet together.  Align your heels.  This is the cobblers’ pose (or badhakonasana).  Now move your toes away from each other.

Interlace

Visualise interlacing your fingers.  Now try to interlace your toes, starting with the little toes.  Try the other side.

You can do these poses with your hands too.  They will help with the management of arthritis, will keep to keep the joints more mobile.

Once you finished the sitting poses come up to standing and get a tissue.

crunching.jpg

Place it on the ground with one corner facing one foot (hard surface is better than soft).  The aim is to scrunch the issue until it disappears under your toes!  Try with the other foot with a new tissue!

I believe some yoga can be done anywhere not just in a studio and you do not need the latest leotard!  Yoga is for any shape or size and any age!

Oh – and try a new colour of nail polish – maybe to match or contrast your yoga mat 😊!

Enjoy your yoga!

 

Foot care over 50 and healthy yoga feet

 

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My zebra toes

As a beginner yogi I used to think that I might not remember the names of my fellow students but I would recognise them from their toes/feet!

As yoga is done barefoot we cannot ignore our feet and the changes which occur was we age.

My feet problem started about 15 years ago. As a keen bushwalker could not wear proper booths, you know the ones with good grip and ankle support. I used wear Rockport walking shoes with very soft orthotics and no orthotics for every day wear. As the years passed by I noticed that I wore my orthotics more and more often. The beginning of the “end of the pretty shoes” came in 2008.  Whilst walking the cobble stoned streets of Quebec (Canada) I developed a condition called Plantar Fasciitis. After several months of stretching exercises (asanas), a new pair of orthotics and a few new pairs of shoes later I was pain free again!

Feet are very complex, we have 26 bones in each foot, they need ample space in our shoes to distribute and balance the weight of the body!

Bones of the foot

Drawing courtesy of posturown.com

Tom from  Podiatry First http://www.podiatryfirst.com.au/ was assisting me on my journey from pretty shoes to “realistic” shoes.  Tom’s comments on the ageing feet:

  • The joints should be moved/exercised to the full range movements, “use it or lose it”;
  • Walk whenever you can, walking in the sand is beneficial;
  • Feet changes with age, it is mostly hereditary;
  • As we age the intrinsic muscles (the little muscles) in the foot get over-powered by the big muscles;
  • The fat pad on the bowl of the foot dissolves;
  • Foot pain is abnormal; pain can be eased by wearing “realistic” shoes and orthotics.  Note pronation is not a disease;

To counteract ageing practice spreading, stretching the toes to create space between them! Stretching the hamstring muscles will keep the knees healthy. If you have injured knees practice stretching the legs whilst laying down (supta padangusthasana).

Foot aliments, if left unattended they alter our body mechanics, our whole posture is affected by foot problems – which gradually will progress to pain in the ankles, knees, hips, back and neck and head.

The combination of walking in wide shoes (weight bearing exercise) and yoga is the supreme way to rehabilitate your feet!

yoga mat