Feet. They have so much of my attention right now because five patients in the last month have come for treatment with variations on the same theme. Sometimes God works like that in my studio, honing my attention for a specific purpose. And I am listening. Three of the five had done the mainstream medical run-around. Podiatrists, orthopedists, sports medicine docs. Diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and treated with anti-inflammatory, rest, ice, night splints, orthotics and, the final blow, roll your foot on this ball. By report, those who sought medical care had barely been touched by medical hands, if at all.
Every single patient had pain on the foot bottom, but palpation of the lower leg, the inside shin and the outside shin, especially posterior tibilais, flexor digitorum and peroneus, revealed major connective tissue adhesions on each and every person. All three of these muscles send tendons (guess where?) to the bottom of the foot. The so-called evil plantar fascia is the layer above these tendons, just below the skin and may be irritated, but is not always the cause or accurate diagnosis for foot pain.
Many foot pain problems can be actively healed with loose, long and strong concepts: consistent deep release of lower leg adhesions (loose); specific fine-tuned stretching, with not everything cured by the old hands-on-the-wall calf stretch (long); and, eventually, building repetitions of eccentric strength (strong). It is a pro-active approach, the opposite of rest, and when it comes to healing, that is sometimes the better choice. Feet can be such a case in point. Rest would include all the modalities above: orthotics, night splints, walking boots, ice and Advil, shoes with drastic support. It is definitely one way to approach the problem and sometimes it is indicated.
But we can remember what humans are capable of; think of the Kenyans running barefoot across the savannah. Our birthright includes strong and flexible feet that can take us where we need to go without being encased by Nike max-support. It took me three years to move out of my orthotics and gain the ability to dance barefoot for hours at a time. I can climb granite slopes and walk through uneven fields without the benefit of shoes. Issues with your feet? If you are interested in exploring this possibility for yourself here are three resources:
- Entering our fourth year for the Tuesday morning/Friday night offering, Jeanne and I have decided to call this class what it is: Body Therapy. Consistent attendance will put you on the road to loose, long and strong in all parts of your body, including your feet. I’ll be teaching this coming Friday night.
- Mark your calendar for November 13 Feet First 1:00-4:00: a foot self care workshop at It’s All Yoga…stay tuned.
- Don’t want to wait that long? Come see me.
We only get one pair per lifetime…attending to your feet is a good investment…