Are your feet stopping you from doing the things you love?
Learn to fix your feet, relieve foot pain and create functional, healthy feet that will help you hike a mountain, run a marathon or just walk to get groceries – pain free.
What can causes foot pain?
There are many issues that can cause foot pain. You may have been told that you have flat feet, a neuroma, bunions, osteoarthritis, plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, a loss of fat pads [get more issues here]. Any of these can lead to pain in the feet.
Foot issues go by many names and have many different specifics. But the real root cause of foot pain is that modern humans have really stiff, weak feet. Because our feet are super weak from years of wearing shoes, they aren’t able to work well. Over time, this leads to all kinds of havoc and pain.
Why do shoes hurt our feet?
Our feet have evolved to be incredibly strong, functional and mobile.
Just looking at the foot bones tells us this: there are 26 bones and 33 joints in a foot. This is a huge signal that in nature, feet move – a LOT.
But modern humans wear shoes from an early age. Wearing conventional shoes immobilizes our feet. Even though we can walk around, our feet don’t fully participate in our movement. Our feet are trapped in stiff, immobile shoes that aren’t the same shape as our natural feet.
Modern shoes have stiff, inflexible soles. These soles prevent our foot joints from moving, so our feet become stiff and weak. The more supportive the shoe, the weaker our feet become.
Modern shoes also have raised heels. These force us to carry our weight too far forward, which places a lot of pressure on our forefeet – a huge contributor to plantar fasciitis, flat feet, metatarsalgia and neuromas. It also compresses our low backs and pelvic floors – foot problems don’t stay at the feet!.
Modern shoes have narrow toe-boxes. These literally squash our foot bones so our feet grow in the wrong shape. This contributes to bunions, neuromas and low circulation because there isn’t enough space!
Modern shoes also have lifted-up toes, known as toe-spring. This shape overstretches the bottoms of our feet and shortens the tops of our feet. Hammertoes, flat feet and plantar fasciitis are the results.
Plus, years of sitting in chairs creates poor standing and walking patterns that overload our feet.
Finally, we don’t walk enough and we mostly walk on pavement, which means our feet miss out on the healthy, varied movement that they love and need for optimal health.
Bad shoes + lots of sitting + not enough walking + poor technique = painful feet.
This leads to poor foot-joint mobility, squashed bones and nerves, low circulation, overstressed connective tissue, and ultimately, to foot pain.
What’s more, poor foot health is directly related to pain in the rest of our bodies. Knee pain, hip issues, back pain and neck pain are all common results of our poor foot habits.
Is foot pain permanent?
No. Foot pain doesn’t need to be permanent. Foot pain can take time to change but it’s absolutely possible for most of us to improve or resolve completely – if we make the right changes and stick to to them.
Severe bunions may involve permanent bony changes in the feet. However, with careful work, many people with bunions can still enjoy great function and ability.
Osteoarthritis is currently thought to be unfixable. However, with careful exercise and potentially working with a podiatrist (such as NW Foot & Ankle) who believes in natural, conservative solutions, we may still be able to enjoy improvements in both function and feeling.
Can I fix my feet?
Yes you can!
Common root causes of foot pain are lack of mobility, lack of strength, alignment issues, and hip weakness.
We can fix our feet with a good exercise program that addresses the root causes of foot pain, a gradual transition to minimal footwear, and appropriate amounts of walking on natural surfaces. Finding a program – like my Fix Your Feet boot camp – that targets these issues is essential to healing foot pain.
And there’s more good news! The work you do to fix your feet will benefit your entire body. It’ll improve your walking mechanics, nurture better spinal and neck health, improve pelvic floor function, decrease the friction associated with osteoarthritis in the feet and knees, and create a great foundation for all-day better movement.
Foot fixes to avoid.
Conventional approaches to foot pain include always wearing supportive shoes, orthotics and surgery. Although these can be helpful in the short run, they don’t address the root cause of foot pain. In fact, they tend to make foot issues worse in the long term, because they contribute to stiffening and immobilizing the foot tissues that are already too stiff and weak.
Another potential issue I see is when people transitioning too quickly to minimal shoes. You can, and probably should, move to more minimal shoes but it takes time. Transitioning too quickly is very common and can lead to overloading our feet too early. Avoid this by doing a lot of foot exercises as you transition, paying careful attention to any pain signals in your feet, and always having a pair of more supportive shoes around in case you need to take a step back.
Who Should Do Foot Work?
Probably every single modern human! If your feet hurt, then definitely yes. If you can’t lift each toe individually, then definitely yes. If you can’t walk barefoot on gravel without your feet hurting, then definitely yes. If you want to transition to minimal shoes, then definitely yes.
Getting started is easy – just sign up for my Fix Your Feet boot camp and get on the path to foot freedom today!
Courses For Foot Health
Fix Your Feet Boot Camp
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Take10 Online Movement Coaching
Get stronger, more mobile and learn how to move better so your body can work better and feel better, in bite sized chunks.
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