Weekly musings, 3/25/18: the feet
The feet live (mostly) in shoes, but are designed to interact with uneven terrain. They respond to the terrain by moving in a variety of ways, making them adaptable to most environments through an impressive network of sensory receptors, bones, muscles, and ligaments. They propel you forward when you walk, alternating between rigidity and flexibility.
Like all body parts, when they aren’t used, they atrophy. When they aren’t asked to walk on uneven surfaces, their responsiveness lessens; coupled with the fact there is usually something between them and the floor, it’s no surprise people feel less grounded and secure on the two structures that are meant to hold them up.
Have you ever wondered why the bottom of your feet are sensitive when you walk on natural terrain without shoes? Maybe it’s because they aren’t used to being exposed to contact with the earth, so the feedback from the ground acts like sensory overload- the nervous system responds by yelling, loudly, that the ground is uncomfortable and potentially painful. With repeated exposure, the discomfort decreases and the foot and ankle become more responsive.
If you don’t want to walk around without shoes, consider walking around barefoot once in a while. Try balancing on balance beams or walking over different surfaces in the house. Which parts of your feet can you feel? Which parts of your heel can you feel? Where is your sense of center? Your feet support you regularly. Acknowledge them occasionally by feeling them.