Falling in Love with my Ageing Feet.

So why would I write about a blog about my feet you may ask? I have asked myself that question a few times since the idea dropped into my ‘Ideas for blogs’ folder a few weeks ago. After a moment of consideration, I replied to myself – why not? – after all, I get the feeling that for so long I have taken my feet for granted; that there have not been many times when I have taken into consideration the massive job that they do to support me in my everyday life. In fact, with every footstep there they are, right with me as I move.  Left, right, left right………..you get the picture?

Now I may be going to write about my experience with my feet and feet in general, but I am sure that many of us are in the same boat when it comes to the ignoring of our feet, and probably many other parts of our body.  Although there may be some of us who have regular foot massages, pedicures and may even take the time to apply nail polish, is that simply to have our feet looking good or does it come from the deepest appreciation for these two appendages, the ones right at the bottom of our body, the appendages without which we cannot walk?  After all, they are tirelessly supporting us from the moment we learn to walk to the time when our body is in a state where we can no longer walk, or the time when we leave this life. So maybe taking the time to care for them a little more than we may currently do, will pay off in the long run, i.e. we may get to the end of our lives with feet that are in the best condition possible. How awesome would that be?

When something goes ‘wrong’ with our feet.

I got to pondering that maybe the only time we pay our feet attention is when something goes ‘wrong’ with them; perhaps when we have banged our big toe – always one big ouch! – the subsequent pain preventing us from walking with ease, something we usually take for granted. Then there are the ingrown toenails, the foot fungus, bunions, and chilblains amongst other foot issues which have the capacity to slow us down. So, if our feet aren’t ‘working’ properly, do we then consider how we walk and the compromise we may unconsciously make to our posture to accommodate any discomfort, i.e. if one foot is sore do we place more weight on the other, which in turn will impact on our knee, our hip and all the way up our spine – after all, every part of us is connected. I for one never used to consider it. And then right at the far end of the scale, there are the major situations where we may lose the use of a foot – or both feet – altogether, through some sort of injury or through an amputation, perhaps as a result of a disease such as Diabetes 2.

So is it time to really appreciate the magnificent job our feet do and have done since the first day we stood up on our wobbly little legs? I know that this time has come for me.

One step at a time.

There’s a saying which I love and use very often, and that is: “One step at a time – anything else is too tricky”. It is written on a picture that I have on my fridge of a young child who is standing on the sand and in the distance is the water, but in between them and the water is a mass of driftwood, a woody, sandy and probably shell-strewn minefield that needs to be negotiated first by two little and very vulnerable bare feet. This little child could allow him/herself to be overwhelmed by what is ahead but by simply taking one step, one very considered step, at a time they will no doubt get to the water’s edge, delicate feet intact.

So how different would our lives and the state of our feet be, if with every step we were totally conscious of our feet and how we place them on the ground?  Would we walk in bare feet on gravel, hot or sharp surfaces, so intent on wanting to get to where we going that our feet are our last consideration, that is until they get hurt? And if this happens the chances are, we will get cross at our feet for being soft, instead of asking ourselves if there was actually another way to have traversed the particular path we have just walked. And what happens if we say, walk in anger? What impact does every angry footstep have on our feet, throughout our body and in turn on the earth? I have come to understand that as everything is energy, for every choice I make there is a energetic consequence. From this understanding, I have learned that walking in anger definitely hurts my body in many ways.

Do our feet love our shoes as much as we do?

And then there are the shoes we wear, often for a certain look and maybe even to impress. When we try them on do we really consider if they support our fabulous feet or do we override that aspect and buy them because we want or even love them? I remember buying my first pair of high heels as a teenager – certainly not the height of some of today’s shoes – and feeling so grown up. But when I look at the photos all I can see now – with the wisdom of hindsight – are my very broad feet squashed into these very pointy shoes. So, what did I have to do to ignore what was actually happening to my feet while they were encased in shoes that were definitely not foot-friendly? Added to this, is the realisation that my spine and every other part of my body was being affected by the unnatural posture the shoes were setting up, a posture that was not supporting my body in any way.

Wow – the ripple effect of a pair of shoes bought simply for a ‘look’ was, and still is, huge. I’m not saying we need to be clomping around in a pair of boring shoes, but what I do know, and what my ageing feet are saying, is for our foot, our body health, and our posture going forward in life, it is so very important to honour our feet and to appreciate the great job they do. These days, if my feet do not sigh with love the moment, I place them into a new pair of shoes, I do not buy them. Gone are the days of madly hoping that the shoes will stretch and become more comfortable as I wear them; they simply do not get to go home with me. And as for the old favourites, the slowly deteriorating pair of shoes that I love but which no longer support my feet – they have to go. Foot love first – shoe love second!   

So how have I been bringing more love to my feet?

A few months ago I decided to have a ‘foot session’ with the wonderful physio, Jane Torvaney, who I wrote about in ‘Caring for our Posture – At any Age’. Her Posture Connect sessions had previously deepened my appreciation for my posture way beyond what I felt was possible and my body was feeling so much more flexible as a result.

My feet didn’t have too many issues but there were a couple of distortions in several toes that concerned me, so after she showed me the amazing skeleton of a foot (below) and how it worked, Jane took me through some simple exercises to stretch and strengthen my toes and my feet. With regular foot exercising sessions, slowly but surely the issues are starting to improve. And more than that, I have really loved paying my very patient feet more loving attention than I have ever done, and I am sure that if feet could smile, that they would be.

These days I love taking the time to:
  • do the gentle exercises as often as possible
  • regularly massage my feet with some yummy massage cream
  • have a regular foot spa with Epsom salts. No foot spa? A big bowl will do
  • buy shoes that really support my feet from the first moment I slide my feet into them
  • deepen my awareness of how my feet are feeling throughout the day and to not ignore them if they are feeling tired or sore.

At this stage, I don’t have any problems that need immediate attention but I know that if I did I wouldn’t hold back from doing so, after all the problems will, in most cases only get worse, as they did in the past – oh the unpleasant memories of those super painful cracks in my heels. Interestingly, enough, besides no longer walking in bare feet on rough ground, the healing of these painful cracks began in earnest when I removed all forms of sugar from my diet and as a result, these cracks are a thing of the past. This very welcomed healing really emphasised the importance of our diet when it comes to caring for all parts of our body – but that’s for another blog.

Getting to know my feet and bringing them lots of love and care has really been such an easy and enjoyable commitment and has me asking why it is has taken so long to do so. It has been a commitment that has been made with full awareness of the fact that the more I care for my feet, the easier it will be for them to support me, and as I make my way through life they will be there for me every step of the way; and that I have the deepest appreciation for. I never had any idea that in the latter years of my life I would actually fall in love with my ageing feet – but I have and not only have the benefits been huge, but it has also been so much fun.

 

 

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