Spring 2021 True Natural Health Magazine
By Lyn Craven, Naturopath and Bowen Therapist
Until issues arise with our feet, very few people give them much attention. If your feet are injured, bruised, cut, sore, etc., then you may have difficulty walking and experience pain; only then do most people attempt to pamper their feet.
How you place your feet on the ground reflects on all the other bearing joints above, including ankles, knees, hips, right up the spine and to the shoulders and neck.
So it is important that you purchase good quality walking shoes. Sports shoes designed for running or cross-training are not always suitable, and neutral gait shoes can be a better option. Avoid wearing thongs unless at the beach or poolside, and never for walking a distance. Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes for walking more than 3 ̶ 4 blocks on the street or for standing for long periods.
The super-high heel contributes to so many foot, ankle, knee and hip problems, along with low back pain. The height designed now is much higher than 20 years ago. Shorter heels for dress shoes are far better and more comfortable, yet can still look elegant.
Children should be taught to walk correctly. I see many walking like a penguin – feet out almost on the clock face of 2.50pm. Use the clock face. Walk at noon at the very least 3 ̶ 5 minutes either side of 12. This is important for developing bones and joints. It does not look attractive when you see women or men walking with their feet pointing out at 2.50pm! The pelvis is affected by wrong foot placement, and as you age you will discover discomfort in calf muscles, shins and knees. It is essential to correct posture and walking early in life and always with good supportive footwear, not thongs.
Serious impact injuries can limit your movement permanently or until healed.
There are far too many disorders to consider re feet, but I do stress the need for regular foot baths. Foot baths containing Epsom salt, some rock salt and very water as warm as you can tolerate are great for tired, aching feet. They help to break down rough patches and corns and bunions can reduce over time. The baths also help with tendon soreness or distortion, meaning lumpy areas under the arch where tendons may have been strained due to poor walking habits or incorrect footwear. And they can help arthritis, calculus (spurs) and nerve related disorders, such as nerve entrapment under the heel.
Acupressure therapy along with Bowen technique can assist with alignment of ankles and feet. This gentle work and pressure in precise areas can help with many feet disorders, along with exercises to correct gait and feet placement on the ground. Certain aromatic essential oils on energy points can help on both feet and the body to rebalance. The oils penetrate through the soles and can help the entire body.
Flat feet can be helped with daily exercise to strengthen the arch, and in time slightly increase the arch.
Remember that walking at between twelve o’clock and 11.05 is ideal. Anything else can cause joint and low back problems.
Become aware of walking and swinging your leg from the hips, not from the knees and observe core and posture as you walk, with shoulders back and down in a relaxed state. The more you concentrate on correct walking and posture, the more your body will adapt naturally.
Pain in base of the foot can occur with overuse of various structures in the feet such as sesamoiditis which is inflammation of structures surrounding two small bones under the big toe joint and plantar fasciitis which occurs with overuse of ligament-like structure that runs underneath the length of the feet often commencing with low grade pain under the arch.
Twisted ankles due to falling, dancing, acrobatic, slipping or jumping off a high wall or step may be helped by first-aid, but if damage has occurred you require a scan to ascertain any structural damage or inflammation. Strapping may be required.
Some disorders that affect up to top of the foot
Metatarsal stress fracture, which is a hairline fracture of the longer metatarsal bones, can cause pain to develop gradually towards the middle to front of the foot.
Navicular stress fracture affects the navicular bone, which is one of the tarsal bones in the middle of the foot. Overuse can produce vague aching pain in the mid-foot area, which worsens with exercise.
Extensor tendonitis can be a gradual onset pain over the top of the foot. Inflammation is present and possibly some degeneration of extensor tendons running along the top of the foot. Overuse is the main cause, as in dancers and sports players.
Problems that you can treat
The fungal infections, tinea, which is contagious, may be picked up if you share showers with others already infected or visit public swimming pools without wearing thongs (ideally a pair set aside just for pool use).
This fungal infection typically affects the webs between the toes, around the toes and under the length of the arch of the foot. If not treated correctly, it can spread and become open and weepy with blisters. Dry the feet with a hair dryer to ensure webs between toes are thoroughly dry.
Fungal infections can be treated by rubbing bicarb soda over feet and shaking some into clean socks. Wash and change socks daily.
Colloidal silver can be applied topically on fungal areas two to three times a day. Walking in sea water can help, along with allowing sunshine and fresh air to reach exposed feet.
Bodywork on Feet
Self-massage can be helpful, but if you have structural issues, or plantar fasciitis you require specific bodywork on the feet in the form of acupressure, chiropractic or Bowen therapy. If a problem is nerve based, acupuncture can help. But not so well for structural problems and poor gait, the latter requiring bodywork also on the lower back and pelvis.
Work on other bearing joints is also required to help such disorders. If impact injuries have occurred, work can speed up healing, and plates and screws inside will often be needed to support ankle joints.
The best advice is don’t delay ̶ aim to correct any discrepancies in your feet as soon as possible, otherwise ankles, knees, hips and spine will be affected.
Lyn Craven is a Practitioner of Naturopathy, Bowen Therapy and Energy/Reiki. S