We can do many things to help our feet other than stretch and strengthen them. Here are a few of the favorites our foot specialist, Dr. Stacey Eck, recommends to all of her clients.
Foot-shaped shoes allow your feet to be positioned in their most natural posture. The toe box is shaped like your feet, allowing your toes to spread out. Another important element is a flat and flexible sole. These features promote natural posturing and the ability for your feet to be active. There are many options for foot-shaped shoes. Check out Stacey's Shoe Recommendation Guide for a variety of her favorites.
If you have a history of foot issues or are accustomed to very narrow, highly cushioned, or heeled shoes, it is best to discuss your options with someone who knows your feet and understands these shoe types. A foot and ankle specialist can ensure you are appropriate for all aspects of these types of shoes. Just like all new things, our bodies are not always ready to make the switch without weaning into the change.
Toe socks allow for your toes to spread or splay. This enables them to assist with stabilization in your feet and propulsion during walking/running. Too tight of socks can contribute to many foot and ankle issues. Injinji is one of Stacey's favorite brands.
Toe spacers are wonderful recovery tools for your feet, especially after being in your shoes/socks all day. They allow for improved foot and toe alignment, which improves circulation, relieves pain and pressure from footwear, and improves the flexibility of your feet. My favorite brand is The Toe Spacer because they are anatomical, you can move around in them, and they come at a great price point. Plus, we have them available for purchase in our clinic.
We have 200,000 nerve endings on the bottom of our feet, and shoes and socks mask what we can feel. This affects the strength of our feet and also our balance. Going barefoot enables our feet to feel the ground below us, use our foot muscles as intended, and allow our body to align itself more naturally.
If you liked what you read and want more information on caring for your feet, meet Stacey at our local Manitowoc Two Rivers YMCA during THIS EVENT. Can't make it, or has the date already passed? Click HERE for access to both her Foot Mobility & Foot Strength exercise playlists.