Save Your Soles
We had a snow day here a little while ago. The perfect day to do things you don’t usually have time to do. We spent the morning shoving our feet into cold boots to shovel our driveway and dig out the cars, and I could tell that my feet were going to need some love.
Afterward I peeled my socks off and looked at my feet. Yikes. I have bad circulation in general, so my toes often look grayish. Not a healthy color.
I had just had a conversation with a student the day before about feet. If we don’t take care of them, they really start to go south as we age. I shared that I’d been dealing with numbness on one of my toes and realized it had been numb for honestly about a month. Why do we ignore our feet so much? It really hit home that yes, we all need to take much, much better care of our feet.
So, out came the basket of foot stuff. I cleared some space for myself on the coffee table. The pack took note.
Surprisingly un-staged, here’s my set up. Don’t misunderstand. My house isn’t super organized or clean all the time, I just like to line things up and order them by type, size, shape and color. It makes my insides feel better. And it sparks joy.
Anyways, back to the feet.
The toe spreaders are key. They keep my toes from irreversibly squishing together, never to be separated again. I got THESE online for about $10, but there are many brands and they can rage a bit in price. These are flexible gel and really comfy. I keep them on for about 15 minutes, or until my feet start to feel uncomfortable. It might be less time if you’re just starting out - try a few minutes and see how you feel.
Not just for when you want fancy feet. I try to give myself a mini pedicure at home once a week… I laughed out loud when I typed that. More like once a month. I don’t usually have time to go get them done, but when I do it’s a lovely treat. This is more about care and maintenance. Scrub, clip, file, go to town.
Give yourself a foot rub. It increases circulation which improves overall foot health. Massage that lotion in, get around your toes, between your toes. Massage the cushion of your heel, the ball of your foot, the sole of your foot. Put some plush socks on and let that moisture settle in.
Points for Silence of the Lambs quotes.
Sit with the ball under one foot and apply some pressure. Just enough that you feel it, it shouldn’t really be all that painful to start. Roll your foot around on the ball, applying pressure on all points of your foot. Toes, ball, arch, heel. This will help to bring blood flow to the entire foot, and may help loosen tight fascia and foot muscles. Also a must if you have flat feet.
3 Exercises That Will Tone Your Tootsies
Try to spread your toes out. Then try to close them back together. Can you? Don’t feel badly if you can’t - a lot of us lose the ability to really move our feet and toes around. Keep trying, and use your hands to help your toes out if they can’t do it alone.
See if you can just lift your big toe up, but not the other toes. Then try the opposite - lift your other toes but not your big toe. Can you? It’s tricky!! Again, if you can’t do it with just your toes alone, use your hands. Pin your big toe down so the others can lift and vice versa.
Progress to “fanning” your toes, or making them do “the wave”. If things are going well, try picking up a pencil with your toes. Or anything really. Can you pinch someone with your toes?
You’ll probably be surprised in either direction -- either your toes are way less dexterous than you realized, or maybe they’re more flexible than you thought!