Jurassic Feet

For some people, feet are gross – and rightly so. I look at my own feet and think I could easily get a part in the next Jurassic Park movie.

That said, I have recently spent some time in certain positions whist stretching and also massaging my own feet (before you decide I’m some sort of foot pervert, hear me out).

I’ve heard the view expressed that you should be able to move your feet in a similar way to how you can move your hands (kind of like monkeys can do). Now, I’m not quite sure about this, but I get the principle – the feet should be quite flexible and able to bend into different shapes.

When I first started with this foot fetish, my feet were considerably stiffer and I’d often get cramp. It was yet another uncomfortable practice to master.

After a few weeks, I really started to notice the difference. My feet started to become more supple (or at least it felt that way – it could just be the placebo effect).

I’d always known that the feet have a significant role to play in our biomechanics (the way we move), but until I started experimenting with my feet, I’d never experienced just how much they play a part in other movements and functions.

1). Squat

Since having my little girl, being able to squat well has become a priority (kids don’t do what we say, they do what we do). I found that massaging my feet before I did a session that included squats heightened the feedback I would get from the floor during the session.

We have some very cool receptors (thousands in fact) in the bottoms of our feet, and these are always giving us feedback on our environment. How do you feel when you walk with bare feet across a lovely wool carpet?

During the barefoot squat, I found I was able to sense where my weight was and whether I needed to adjust my position to keep other joints in a safe loading position (mainly my knee after having Anterior Cruciate Ligament surgery, which has left a mighty scar).

2) My Mood

Having a little one and juggling work and business can be quite stressful at times (certainly with other factors that play a role in your life too). When I first started this practice of massaging my own feet (spending around 1 minute before a session and maybe more later when I got home), I noticed they were tight and filled with tension.

After a week or so, when they started to feel less tight, I also noticed that my mood had elevated. My stress levels felt somewhat reduced and I felt lighter.

3). Tight Muscles

Now, I always suffer with tight calves, and my hamstrings are often like guitar strings. Since adding this to my routine, both my calves and hamstrings have been less tight.

I have taken a holistic approach to my mobility recently, which is probably another factor for this but I literally see an instant flexibility increase in my hamstrings when I do this drill (there is evidence to support this, but by rolling the a hockey ball at the bottom of the foot).

Although self-fascial release methods (foam rolling etc.) have been known in the PT world for some time, actually massaging your own feet gives you more opportunity to get into the nooks and crannies. After all, our feet are our contact to the earth, so it’s worth spending some time on them.

Move and groove, fitness fanatics.