Bare Feet -- or is that Bear Feet? Part I

Dr. Oz had an orthopedic physical therapist on his show today, and she was giving tips for dealing with back pain -- all-natural tips mind you. No medicine. Things like 'yellow mustard' and Emu rub or something like that?

But as I'm sitting there watching it (b/c I don't have cable and there was nothing else on), I was thinking, "seriously? this is where we are? eating mustard is going to cure your back spasms or slipped disc?". Ay ay ay, Lucy. 

It's a very western idea -- treating symptoms while completely ignoring the cause. The root of the cause for most back pain is actually something much easier and cheaper. Even cheaper than buying a mustard packet.

My second thought was, "I wonder if that orthopedic physical therapist is wearing shoes with big heels on them." And the first time the camera took a wide shot I got the answer: yup.

Because that's the answer. The majority of all this foot, ankle, knee, hip, low back, mid back, neck and pelvic pain that we modern and civilized folks are suffering from is because we don't use our feet the way they were designed.

Think I'm crazy?

Did you know that 25% of all the muscles and bones in your entire body are located below your ankle?

Your foot, per the great Leonardo Da Vinci, is a miraculous work of art. An arch supported by an array of complex muscles, ligaments, tendons and tiny bones that is designed to support the weight of an entire human body over the course of a lifetime.

Toes are supposed to be flexible and strong. You're SUPPOSED to have arches in your foot.

Imagine wearing a big cast on your right arm from the time you were a baby to adulthood. When you take that cast off, what would you be left with? A somewhat usable limb that has no strength, no dexterity, and no function other than maybe swinging it at an intruder or giving someone a thumbs up when they steal your girlfriend.

And how much more important are the feet? They get used all the time, everyday. Cut someone's arm off and they can still get around. Cut someone's feet off? You get the picture. They're important - and we are egregiously neglecting them which has led to major orthopedic and structural woes literally from head to toe.

Even a slightly raised heel can have major effects. I like how Katy Bowman puts it -- if you raised one side of a book shelf up just a half inch, a measly half-inch, no harm right? But what happens to the top of a 6 foot shelf? It moves a lot more than just a half-inch.

And we humans are pretty good at compensating for alignment errors and/or weakness. In the book shelf analogy if we were put together like a book shelf, we would just fall flat on our faces when we tried to walk or stand. But we compensate by bending the knees, shortening the hamstrings and tucking the pelvis.

Now we're all out of whack and spend hours and hours every day in this compromised position -- or sitting, which isn't much better.

Big, fashionable high heels are the absolute worst thing you can do for your feet. Sorry ladies. And some of my more glamorous guy friends. 

You think bunions, spurs, hammer toes, and corns are normal?! No!! They're not. That's your body, your poor, confused body, building tissue in areas where it is feeling the most pressure - which is a healthy process when you're in alignment. That's how your bones and other connective tissues get strong and stay strong.

But when that tissue starts growing in places it's not designed to grow -- you get nasty, ugly, malfunctioning feet.

That'll do it for Part I -- in Part II I'll give you some tips on how to reverse the deleterious effects of wearing shoes your whole life - and how to keep your offspring from suffering the some problems you are. 

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