How To Stretch Your Feet
Like many girls, I can’t help but like girl shoes.
You know the ones – the ridiculous but good looking ones. They have high heels, maybe even pointy toes, they are fashionable, you can barely walk and/or if you do anything other than just stand there looking fabulous, you feel slightly crippled.
I am always dubious when I go to the movies and watch various actresses supposedly running away from the bad guys in high heels. I saw Jennifer Anniston running in high heels in a movie and didn’t believe one second of the scene.
I am quite athletic, have very good balance, but I don’t think I could ever run anywhere in my high heels.
Even though I know all the side effects, I still have a closet full of girl shoes.
Sometimes I feel like I ought to designate one day a week just to practice walking in my girl shoes – going up and down stairs, for example, or walking on cobblestones – just so when I actually choose to wear them I don’t look like a fashionable but somewhat hobbled idiot.
Oh, like many women, I try!
When I buy shoes, I walk around the store in prospective purchases, hoping that for once I have found a pair that is A) comfortable and B) also fashionable.
Recently my girl shoes have hobbled me more than usual, so I have had to practice stretching my feet.
Here are my suggestions:
1. Purchase a pair of Yoga Toes: I paid $29.95 on www.amazon.com, and worth every penny I might have. I had visited my chiropractor to discuss the side effects of my girl-shoe habit, and she warned me that I may be developing a Morton’s neuroma, a particularly malevolent-sounding syndrome characterized by shooting nerve pain in your feet, especially after wearing girl shoes. I was beginning to feel this shooting nerve pain even when wearing practical ugly shoes like sneakers, so I knew things were getting serious.
A friend of mine who is a massage therapist, Dana DeHart of Aiken, S.C., had recommended Yoga Toes to me, so I whipped out my credit card and bought some immediately. They are great for putting on your feet when you are blogging (I am wearing mine now), watching movies on TV or when relaxing on a couch in front of a fire this time of year.
2. Lift and spread your toes whenever you are barefoot. In yoga class, we talk about lifting and separating your toes. During a recent workshop with Roger Cole, an Iyengar teacher of some 33 years experience, I discussed my girl shoe side effect problem and Roger advised me to lift and spread my toes in Mountain Pose.
As I am always explaining to my students and clients, the acupuncture meridians either begin or end in your hands or your feet, so keeping open lines of energy in our hands and feet is quite important.
3. Rub the lines of energy from the center of each foot through each toes. As a long-term practitioner of Thai yoga body therapy, I have learned how to rub the marma points in the center of the top of each foot directly above your ankle bone. In my studio, I usually carry some form of healing ointment for foot treatments. My current favorite is Jason Natural Products Cooling Minerals and Tea Tree Oil. Use the muscle and joint oil to rub those points on each foot, and then with your hands, rub the lines of energy through each toe. Gently pull each toe, releasing any tension in the joints. Doing so will release endorphins, so you will feel happy while releasing the pain.
4. On the bottom of each foot, rub the heel and then the lines of energy out through each toe. Continue using the Jason Natural Products Cooling Minerals and Tea Tree Oil. When you are done rubbing your feet, put on a pair of clean socks.
5. Take a golf ball and place it under your foot. Keep rolling the ball with your foot to work out trigger points. Once again, in my studio, I have accumulated a horde of helpful devices over the years, and one of these is a small ball the size of a golf ball with rubber points on it. This works even better than a golf ball, but a golf ball will do. I am not sure where you can get your hands on this other therapeutic device, but if you are in a dollar store you may be able to find one.
6. Point and flex your feet. While you are pointing and flexing one foot, take your hands and massage your calves, using your fingers to identify and rub through trigger points on your calves and feet. When you get to an ouchy spot, stop and keep rubbing until the tenderness is gone.
There are 26 bones in your feet, 33 joints and an estimated 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments, so things can get quite tricky if you don’t take care.
7. Find a doorway. Stand on the doorstep with your toes elevated and your heels dropped. Hold on to the side of the door for balance. Allow your muscles to lengthen. Conversely, you can also roll up a yoga mat, place the rolled up portion under your feet with your toes high and your heels dropped. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
8. Once you are complete with your stretching, rubbing and lengthening, take an Epsom salt bath. For extra help, throw in a capful of Kneipp Herbal Bath Arnica Muscle and Joint Rescue. This stuff is like magic. I always keep Epsom salts and Kneipp bath oils on hand as basic first aid. I also like the Kneipp Eucalyptus bath oil for colds, but that is another matter. Keep rubbing your feet in the bath until the tenderness and shooting pain has been alleviated.
9. If you are at the point where your feet hurt on a regular basis, that means you have too much inflammation in your body. My favorite remedy for inflammation is Biodetox. Just visit http://shop.totalfitness.net and find out more about Biodetox, which is a natural healing remedy for inflammation.
10. Of course, if you are at the point where your feet actually hurt, you will want to remove the cause, which means wearing more practical shoes. Some of the brands that I like that are comfortable but actually redeemingly cute include Sofft, BeautiFeel, Gentle Souls, Ecco, Walking Cradles and Naot. There is no substitute for trying on shoes in person and discussing your foot issues with a knowledgeable sales person.