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Wellness Wednesday: Pain in the...Foot

I think by far some of the most abused muscles in the body are the muscles of the feet.

We walk on them carrying entirely too much of a load sometimes. We play sports and twist and turn on them. Some of us wear high heels. And some of us are just plain clumsy.

Whatever we happen to do with our feet, it’s inevitable that you’re going to experience pain in them at some point in time.   

Bunions, hammer toe, plantar fasciitis, et cetera. These are very uncomfortable issues that can be avoided.

Here are a few preventative care tips for keeping your feet healthy:

DONT WEAR SHOES THAT ARE INCREASING THE ISSUE: Your feet actually move a lot and when they don’t, due to a shoe forcing them not to, you can develop issues. Make sure your toes have room to spread a bit - a very tight toe box mashes toes together. Ladies, is wearing high heels everyday really worth the possible extreme foot pain you may develop when you’re older?

LOSE THAT UNWANTED BODY FAT: So, you're 50 pounds overweight. Are your feet hurting and tired? Of course they are! Lose the body fat you want to and you’ll have more energy and your feet will thank you. Think about putting all your bodyweight on one foot at a time. For the majority of us, that is thousands of steps every day. I can feel the difference in my body at 200 pounds versus 220. Pain can be just like looking in the mirror. You don’t see the change every day. You dismiss the small aches in your feet each day until they become very painful. Pay attention to your feet. If you have neuropathy, check your feet diligently. You may not notice issues developing by feel.  

GET A FOOT MASSAGE (and give one back unless you’re a jerk): Lots of people I’ve met have the “feet are gross” notion going on. They don’t want their feet massaged or touched. Not me. I love a good foot massage. I enjoy giving them just as much. It makes me feel good knowing I’m taking some pain away when a friend has a sore muscle. So if you’re not in the mood to give or get a massage for your feet or don’t have the money for a weekly massage, you’re going to have to do it for yourself.  

The truth is plantar fasciitis SUCKS. I’ve had it three times (one from too much endurance training too quick, another from too much weight gain too quick and the last one from too much explosive jumping). Grab a book on self-massage care and a couple tools like this trigger point therapy NANO foot roller (you can grab one at the link or some local running stores such as Bob Roncker’s Running Spot). You can also start with a racquet or tennis ball and roll your feet at your desk at work. I could go into much more depth, but I’ll save that for later. Using these tools will increase blood flow to your feet, take the tension out of them and just give you a better spring in your step. Before you try it out, make sure you’re okay to do light self-massage and don’t have any circulatory problems with your feet. Basically you’re looking for tender spots in the muscle and fascia tissue of the feet. Use the ball and roll along the bottom of your foot, from heel to toes and side to side as well.  

TAKE CARE OF YOUR CALVES: Some heel pain starts in the soleus of the calf. Foam roll, massage and stretch it. Ankle mobility is key in helping eliminate foot pain. There are many techniques we use at Swing This Kettlebell and Strength Studio and there are plenty of books we have on the subject. You can also search our youtube.com/swingthis1 channel for ways to help your feet. Morning and night is a good time to roll your feet or even anytime of the day when you are sitting at your desk. Heck, I know many of you have time to be on Facebook at work, so you might as well give your feet the care they deserve!

I feel that a lot of bad movement starts in your feet. If your feet hurt when you walk, you will start compensating to adjust. Then you end up with back pain as well. All the better reason to take care of them.   

If you cannot get relief and you still have foot issues after some self-care, definitely go see a good doctor. I can also point you to a few really good muscular therapists, including my favorite therapist for relieving plantar fasciitis issues. 

- Joe Daniels is the owner of SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength Studio in Latonia. Questions for Joe? E-mail him at [email protected].

Bored with bodybuilding after reaching the national level in 2009, Joe Daniels opened SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength. From becoming an IKFF Coach operating in an 800 sq. ft. studio, the benefits of a minimal yet highly effective approach to fitness has grown to a 5,500 sq. ft. functional training facility within four years. 

Focusing on injury prevention, competitive kettlebell sport training and stress relief, SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength has hosted seminars and trained hands-on with some of the top athletes and coaches of the kettlebell world. Their philosophy has remained the same: You have to enjoy your training at all stages. Live your life. Your training should make your life outside that time more enjoyable and fulfilling.