Feet, Feet, Feet!

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“Oh how many feet you meet!” I read to my children every night when they were growing and Dr. Seuss’s Foot Book, was a favorite.

I got the idea for this article from this article – https://www.wearethemighty.com/MIGHTY-FIT/combat-boots-hurting-feet?

Foot Pain!

Fascia: A sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue enveloping, separating, or binding together muscles, organs, and other soft structures of the body.

Plantar Fascia: The thick connective tissue which supports the arch of the foot.

Plantar Fasciitis: Short-term inflammation in a fascia. It is a disorder of the connective tissue which supports the arch of the foot. It results in pain in the heel and bottom of the foot that is usually most severe with the first steps of the day or following a period of rest. Pain is also frequently brought on by bending the foot and toes up towards the shin.

Plantar Fasciosis: Long-term inflammation in a fascia. Although, it seems that everyone just uses “fasciitis” to mean both, in general.

I spent 20 years in the US Air Force and before that I was an Army ROTC cadet at New Mexico Military Institute. Since retiring from the USAF in 2005, I still wear boots in my DrillMaster utility uniform any time I am teaching. That’s quite a few years to wear boots! To use today’s vernacular, plantar fasciitis much? Yes and I was given these hard plastic inserts by the VA clinic that I wore for several years that helped a little bit, but I still needed to get a new set each year or so. Still, the idea was still in the back of my head: why do I need these? What happened?

There are still people in the world who do not wear shoes. A tribe in the jungle somewhere doesn’t have a podiatrist assigned to it who is telling one of the older members, “Well, we just need to take an impression of each of your feet and then we will get you some hard, solid plastic inserts to give you some relief.” Insert into what? No shoes.

Theodoric of York receiving a patient

I don’t think foot doctors (barbers?) were walking around medieval England or Europe talking to people about fallen arches. As Medieval Barber, Theodoric of York once stated, “You’ll feel a lot better after a good bleeding!”

If people can survive all their lives without a “tribal podiatrist”, what happened to my feet? Shoes and boots happened.

I don’t play a doctor on TV or anywhere, this is just my experience and research. A bunch of research that I will not detail except to say that there are some very good physical therapy accounts on Instagram that will explain all kinds of details that I’m not qualified to get into. Here is the shortened journey I went through to have feet that don’t hurt.

Exercise. Your feet have muscles that are not allowed to work properly when you wear certain shoes and boots. This is not going to be fun or comfortable at first, but I was better in about nine months. After two years, my feet are just fine. Do this every day.

  • I walked forward and backward in bare feet eight steps on the outsides, insides, heels, and platforms (ball of the foot and toes) of my feet. At first, the heels might be the most painful so I wore athletic shoes or went outside and walked in the grass. Eventually, I was able to do all of my walking on our hard floors in the house without any pain whatsoever.
  • “Make fists with your toes.” Lay a towel flat on a smooth floor and, while leaving your heel on the floor, pull the towel toward you with your toes and arch.

Shoes. When not on duty, start wearing shoes that provide protection from the surface on which you are walking, but that can bend and move and allow your feet to work properly. I fell for the notion of having shoes that must have steel plates in the soles to give you the best support or the supper soft squishy soles that help you roll your foot forward. Please don’t waste your money, the support comes from your bones, tendons, muscles, and fascia in your feet, up your legs, and into your pelvis.

I don’t wear flip-flops. If you want a sandal, wear one that has a strap around the back of the heel.

You are on a relatively short journey that I pray will reduce and eventually eliminate your pain. I hope this helps you.

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