When was the last time you paid any attention to your feet? When was the last time you actively worked the muscles in your feet or stretched or mobilised the toes, the foot or the ankles? What happens or doesn't happen in the feet has far reaching affects throughout the rest of the body. The big toe joint plays an important role in compensation patterns including over recruitment of the adductor muscles (the inner thigh) and limitations in the flexibility of the big toe can affect gluteus maximus activation. Whether you are a relatively sedentary office worker or an athlete, treating your feet (not just to the pedicure variety) but including strengthening and mobilising work regularly can benefit not just the health of your feet but the health of your whole body up through the chain. Chances are your feet are scrunched up into what the bodyworker Tom Myers coined as foot coffins for the vast majority of your day for the vast majority of your life from the moment you were able to walk and gets very little freedom to move and strengthen in a variety of ways on a daily basis. Which is why it's important to do more corrective exercises regularly as these "foot coffins" limit movement and our ability to propriocept or sense where our feet are in space, which is an important function of our feet and one which deteriorates as we age leading to falls and injury. The first thing that touches the ground during movement not only affects the feet but has a ripple affect up through the whole chain of the body, whether that's in gait, working out and stepping our foot into lunges, running, walking and dancing. Make treating your feet a regular part of your workout routine and you'll notice a difference in strength and stability and even perhaps a reduction in your compensation patterns.
Advanced clinical massage therapist and yoga teacher.