Fundamentals

Fundamentals

If you have feet, I'm writing this for you.

If you have foot pain and want to cure it, I'm writing this for you.

If you want to develop strong, healthy, resilient feet, I'm writing this for you.

If you're a health professional, I'm writing this as a resource for you and your patients/clients.

This article is my best effort to distill 8 years of foot health research into what I have come to understand as the essential basics of foot health.

If you do these 7 things consistently, you will develop healthy feet. This perspective is based on my clinical practice, 8 years of research, and a foundation of first principles of physiology.

I define healthy feet as feet that are stable, strong, mobile, adaptable, resilient, and free of longstanding pain.

These are the 7 steps to free your sole.

 

Step 1: Mindset

Think long term. Developing great foot health is a process and doesn't happen overnight. Once you accept responsibility for your foot health and begin applying the 7 steps, you must adopt a long term mindset, be patient, and respect the process. 



Step 2: Footwear

Stop wearing unnatural footwear that disables, deforms and damages your feet. Spend time barefoot and when you need to protect your feet, wear natural footwear (shoes that are foot shaped, flat, flexible, have a thin sole and are fixed).

The best way to deal with foot injuries is to prevent them from happening. Turns out, over 90% of foot issues are caused by people wearing shoes that are actively deforming, damaging and disabling their feet. Assuming our body is self healing and adapts to what we expose it to, when we stop exposing our feet to shoes that damage them, our feet automatically start feeling better. Shocker, I know.

If you were hitting your thumb with a hammer everyday and coming to me to help reduce the pain and restore function, I would start by telling you to stop hitting your thumb. Want to get rid of foot pain? Begin by eliminating shoes that are causing the pain.

Step 3: Begin a daily practice

Commit to showing up everyday to work on solving the problem. Just show up everyday and move. It can be immensely simple. Compounding effects of 10 minutes a day will blow you away. If you can't commit to 10 minutes a day, you don't actually care about getting rid of the problem or developing healthy feet. If you don't show up consistently, nothing happens.


Step 4: Recondition your feet

Time spent barefoot, wearing toe spreaders, single leg training, joint mobilization and tissue release with a mobility ball are all examples of reconditioning your feet. Start slow. Developing strength and mobility in your feet requires time, patience and consistency. Include foot reconditioning in your daily practice.

 

Step 5: Train your balance

If you can't balance on 1 leg for 60 seconds with your eyes closed without falling over, you should train your balance until you can. Poor balance is a major risk factor for injury. Training balance is simple, easy, and offers great returns on injury prevention. Include single leg balance training in your daily practice. SoleMates and balance beams are great tools for balance training. The only wrong way of doing it is if you aren't having fun.

 

Step 6: Reclaim your squat

If you can't get into a full depth barefoot bodyweight squat with your feet hip width apart and straight, you should train the position until you can. The inability to get into a resting squat indicates that you're missing essential ranges of motion in your feet, ankles or hips. Include squat training everyday in your daily practice until you can get into a resting squat position for 2 minutes without any pain while being able to take deep, calm breaths.

 

Step 7: Spend time on the ground

Spend less time in chairs and more time on the ground. The inability to get up and down from the ground 3 times without using you hands for assistance, means you are missing fundamental ranges of motion and strength. Reduce chair sitting time to 4 hours or less per day and and spend more time on the ground.

 

Those are the fundamentals of foot health. The 7 steps to free your sole. 

Share this with a friend or family member who is struggling with foot pain and help them get on the right path.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for taking care of yourself.

 

Much Love,

Nick

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