How to build your “foot core”
Everyone knows that a strong core is vital for health in many ways. I haven’t even had to explain what I mean by “core” in that sentence because you immediately know that I am referring to the muscles in your abdomen that provide stability. Yet stability is not just about these abdominal muscles and one obvious contributor to your stability is your foot. As has been pointed out in a new paper, building your “foot core” with barefoot walking and subtle exercises can help conditions including shin splints and plantar fasciitis.
According to the researcher, putting a big sole of a shoe under the foot dampens the information that is fed back to the brain.
In the new paper the researcher points out that there is a feedback cycle between the larger muscles of the foot and leg, the smaller muscles of the foot, and the brain. When the feedback loop is broken it can lead to overuse injuries that afflict both the weekend warrior and the professional athlete.
According to the researcher, putting a big sole of a shoe under the foot dampens the information that is fed back to the brain. Since muscles are the primary absorbers of force for the body any diminishment of the nuanced information they provide causes larger muscles to overcompensate and over-exert sometimes beyond the body’s capacity to repair. This can lead to injuries like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, bursitis, and tendonitis.
So, how do you remedy the problems caused to your foot core by wearing shoes? You go barefoot, of course. In addition to this the researcher recommends doing exercises like moving the ball of your foot back towards your heel without curling your toes.
The added bonus of going barefoot for a while of course is that you get to connect with the earth and feel the grass beneath your feet, provided you aren’t going barefoot on a gravel path. So take of your shoes and let your feet feel their power; you’ve got nothing to lose except your brand name shoes and some sore shins.