Happy & Healthy Feet Workshop

We’re going to go ahead and get started talking about the feet.  We’re going to cover a lot of various topics.  Feel free to go ahead and ask questions throughout.  I’ll keep everything nice and open and answer your questions.  If you need to, afterwards, ask me questions, feel free, or e-mail me.  I love, love to take your questions and make sure I’m addressing what you need to be addressed.

So, a lot you are having some foot pains.  This is very, very common.  Right?  I mean this is a huge problem in today’s society, foot pain, and who knows really what the causes are?  There’s so many things that we can talk about.  We’ve got the shoes that are the problem.  We’re walking on concrete.  We have injuries that occur.  We have movement patterns that we’ve picked up through time. We pick up from our parents when we start to walk.  It’s very common for people who have foot pain that their parents had foot pain or bunions or these things.  Their kids end up having it.  A lot of it is because that’s how we learn to move, through how our parents move.  We pick up these habits, and a lot of times, we end up with the same pain.

As we are working with the feet, we need to start looking at the structures of our feet.  If any of you feel comfortable, I’m going to have you take off your shoes so that you can get dirty with me here, in a sense.  I’ll let you get comfortable, but before we start analyzing it, I want to look at why it’s important we’re working the feet, we’re looking at the feet.  We’re understanding how the feet are important to the body.

Physically, the feet are the foundation to the house.  The feet are the foundation to our body, right?  If we have a house and got a foundation and you get a crack, everything up the chain can be having problems.  Cracks happen through the system.  So, when the feet start to go, it is not uncommon to have knee problems, hip problems, back problems, neck problems, and even shoulder problems, and that can all resonate from the feet.  Physically, the feet cause a lot of problems if they start to get cracks in them.

Mentally, what does this do to us if we have cracks in our feet?  Well, mentally we don’t feel as grounded.  We start to lose our balance, and that makes us start to feel a little more uncomfortable.  So, emotionally, now we don’t feel as centered.  We don’t feel as stable.  We start to have fear in movement, or we stop moving.  So, what’s really important?  We get our foundation back so we can start living life again.  We can have a full life and not be restricted in what we’re doing.  That’s where I really have a passion.  So, a lot of what I’m going to show is coming from a peace of mind to get you moving, get you out of pain, and get you feeling better about yourself.

If we look at the feet, we’re all going to have various feet.  All of us have different structures, and there’s no right or wrong.  So, you’re going to hear a lot of people talk about fallen arches or high arches.  Let me tell you:  That concept, you need to throw out the window.  There is no such thing as high arches or fallen arches.  All there is is what’s your arch?  Where is supposed to be the most natural place of your arch?  For some people that’s going to be a little bit higher.  For other people, that’s going to be flatter.  Our goal is not to give you a certain shape of a foot, but it is to find your best foot.  That’s where these exercises are going to come in.

What are some problems start to come up when our feet are going for us, when we’re not having our most natural foot?   Plantar fasciitis, the Achilles tendon problems.  People start to get just achy feet, arthritic feelings.  We also get bunions.  We get callouses, corns.  All of these things are representative of what happens when the feet start to go bad.

If we look at a bunion, what really occurs with a bunion is we’re putting pressure unevenly in our feet.  I’m going to try and get up here for you guys to see me a little bit better.  When we put our feet unevenly and we put uneven pressure, what happens is the foot starts to roll in like this.  The toes then start to press out like so.  This is a reaction.  The body’s always going to react to pull you back into balance because the body always wants to be back in balance.

So, if I go to shift my hip out, notice how my upper body shifts back towards the other side. This is so I don’t fall over.  If I shifted everything over this way, I’m going to fall over.  The body is really smart.  It’s freaking cool how it will readjust to make things happen.  Now, when that readjustment happens though, that’s not necessarily good for the body.  Overtime, it’s going to start to cause pain, and this starts when you’re a kid.  So, any of the problems you’re having now may have started when you were young.  The problem is that over 30, 40-some years, it’s now gotten how far out of whack.  So, first thing you have to know, you can’t go from here and go back to here.  We have to go really slow, all the way back.

Now that doesn’t mean you can’t start making changes fast.  It just means you have to work within its range and not try to force it too fast because if you do that, it will just cause this much pain.  We’ll talk a little about the shoes and how you can prepare yourself as you move into these other ways so that you don’t shift yourself to the other extreme because we don’t want to go to the other extreme, that one to the next.  It’s the slow kind of processes.

So, the body reacts whenever we place pressure in imbalanced ways.  If you stand up, and we take a look at our feet, there are going to be a couple of things that might happen for you as you stand up here.  Some of you might have what a lot of doctors tell you is fallen arches.  They’re not fallen arches, but what happens is that pronation happens.  Pronation is just a fancy word for rolled in.  That’s all it is.  When you’re rolling in, and I might do a little exaggerated here so that you can take a look at your feet.  Just know mine’s exaggerated.  If you notice here, now I’m balanced.  If I go to roll in and I go to do this pronation, see what happens to my knees.  See what happens to my toes, and if you can’t feel free to walk around here a little bit.  I’m going to try and do as much as I can to show you.  My toes are now starting to come out.  My knees are coming in.  This is going to put a lot of pressure.   Now, this happens overtime so remember you’re probably not here yet, but you might slightly be there.  You’re already causing these shifts to curve.  What that does is that weakens the ankle.  Those of who were talking to me about the ankle problem, if you’re rolling in like this, what is happening is not necessarily that your arch is flattening.  The entire inner line of your body is falling downward.  That’s putting a lot of pressure into that area, which is going to possibly result in knee problems, hip problems, back problems.

So, that’s one thing that tends to happen for people.  Another way is people tend to go and roll out like this.  You want to look and see if you’re one of these people.  Again, this is exaggerated.  If you see this, my knees go way.  My toes are clinging down to the floor to hold me up because it doesn’t want me to fall over, and as I’m doing that, it makes the bottom of my foot really tight.  High arches.  Those people that have really tight high arches, this is you.

Those of you who are having that inner weakness, the pressure is coming inward, or you’re feeling the pain in the first two toes on this foot area, you’re a pronator.  This is a supinator.  Fancy word for rolled out, that’s all.  Medical terms.  Easier if you just say rolled in, rolled out.

Either way, this is affecting the rest of the structure.  If you are that rolled in person, the ankle is falling.  Now, you’ve got this weakened stability in the ankle.  The knee is being pulled down.  You’re being overstretched on the outside over here.  The body is then going to readjust for this in multiple ways to try and keep you balanced and cause other tightnesses in other poles.  If you’re this person who rolls out, it’s in here that we’re getting this tightness in the bottom of the foot. The knees are pressing outside so you’re getting this bow-legged type of look.  You’re getting these off of these imbalances in the muscles.  Does that make sense?  Yeah, yeah.  Right in there.

If we look at our feet, look and see that you’re finding that you’re falling down, that ankle’s falling downward or what people call fallen arches, which technically is not necessarily fallen arches, or if you’re a supinator.  This is the first place you have to start.  You have to know what your foot is doing.  If you don’t know what your foot is doing, you don’t know how to correct it.  If you feel comfortable with that, you can go ahead and have a seat now.  You can also ask me after class.  I will analyze your foot with you and let you know what exactly you’re doing and where your pressure points are that’s happening.

Analysis and awareness are always key.   I always say this.  You need to become aware before you can make changes.  If you do not know what you are doing initially, you cannot make the changes.  This is where mindfulness comes in.  We’re going to get reconnected to our feet.  We’re going to rebuild our pathways from our brain down to the feet and have just as much control of our feet as anything else in out body.  As we get that control, we’re going to get more grounded.  We’re going to find our feet responding to us, and we’re going to get comfortable on them.  There’s going to be a whole lot of things that are going to come along with that.

There’s a gentleman called Dr. Morton, and he wrote a book in the 1920s.  He had this radical idea about the foot, which he is considered the founder of podiatry.  However, a lot of theories never carried through for some reason.  The way that he looked at placement of the foot, when you’re looking at the pressure on the foot, a lot of people thing four corners.  Well the four corners is not where you think of pressure on the foot.

Where you need to think of pressure on the foot when you’re standing is that you have to think of it as almost a V.  The V pressure points are going to be right through the center of your big into the center of your heel, right through the center of your baby toe right into the center of your heel, and if you drew a line straight through the middle of that V, those are your three points.  Does that make sense?  So, if I’m a supinator, I’m this rolled out person, I need to get that big toe back down, and as I get that big toe back down, I’m going to find the bottom of my feet spread out more.  That’s going to build that flexibility back into the bottom of that foot.

If I’m that rolled in person, I have to find that pressure rolling towards the outside so that lifts my ankle, and I’ll find that it almost lifts my entire body upward because it’s being pulled down, it will lift me up.  Does that make sense?  Yeah?  Okay, just want to make sure.

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