by Kathy Kleiver, Pilates Teacher at Bodytree Studio
Have you ever been behind a truck that appears to be driving at an odd angle even though it’s traveling straight forward? Or perhaps you’ve noticed a car with wheels that tilt inward or outward when viewed from the front or the back, and you think, “That can’t be good for the tires!”? You’re right: it’s not! These are signs a vehicle is out of alignment and needs to be serviced. Let these issues go and they’ll likely cause uneven and/or premature tire wear, steering wheel vibration, or a pulling sensation to the left or right making it harder to control the vehicle, any of which can ultimately pose a safety risk.
Now take a moment to stand up and walk a few steps, then stop and look down at your own feet. Yes…now! Are your feet pointing mostly straight forward, or is one (or both) angled in or out from your centerline? Just as wheel imbalance causes additional wear and tear on a car, foot imbalance can lead to bigger issues in our bodies that can compromise our health. There are obvious ailments like bunions and bone spurs, corns and calluses. But did you stop to think that if your feet aren’t working properly, your ankle, knee and hip joints can be adversely affected, having to create compensatory movements? Or that something as seemingly innocuous as your choice in shoes can lead to arthritis, decreased bone density and nerve damage?
Thanks (mostly) to Katy Bowman, MS, a biomechanist, author, blogger and podcaster, I’ve become obsessed with foot health. Her insightful book, Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet, was eye-opening to me, having myself suffered from foot problems and pain over the years. I can honestly say that incorporating a few of her recommendations and guidelines into my life the last six months has had a positive impact not only on my feet, but on my entire body.
Here are a few of my favorite takeaways from her book: