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Natural Foot Health

Massage Magazine   Click to read Aaron’s June 2013 Massage Magazine article: Myofascial Treatment for Natural Foot Health.

A naturally healthy foot maintains it’s own structure, support and mobility, providing a stable, adaptable, and pain-free foundation for the rest of the body.

Many westerners can’t claim this about their own feet.  Growing up wearing motion-controlling, posture-deforming and poorly fitting footwear inhibited the natural development of the foot’s tissues and capabilities.

Feet easily learn to be lazy and atrophy when given opportunity to depend on shoes that do the work of supporting arches and controlling motion for them.

Barefoot and natural (minimalist) runners, walkers and hikers have pushed the concept of fully functional feet from obscurity to popularity.  For many the idea represents a route

to curing root-cause of foot problems, ankle problems, knee problems, back problems, name any body part that suffers from a day on one’s feet, etc.. Strengthening, training and making lifestyle shifts to achieve lasting foot or structural health is far more attractive than classical symptom-management treatments that may create dependence such as medication, orthotics, or surgery.

Successful foot-rehabilitation often involves addressing the root-cause of most foot problems: overuse of ill-fitting, deforming and inhibiting footwear!

Click to enlarge the guide to the right; use it to select footwear that helps you develop and maintain naturally healthy feet.

You can begin strengthening today, by gradually increasing the time you spend either barefoot, or in a “natural shoe” that allows your foot to move and retain it’s natural shape.

Day by day, your foot will adapt and meet the challenge by strengthening and refining its skills in movement.

In addition to patiently and gradually increasing the amount of time you ask your foot to do a foot’s job, the process of rehabilitating foot strength, structure, and nervous system connections may be assisted:

  • Correct Toes hold alignment while you strengthen it.

    Correct Toes hold the space while you strengthen within it. Then you can hold the space on your own.

    •Utilize Correct Toes toe spacers while weight-bearing in foot-shaped footwear, to align individual toes with the metatarsal/tarsal rays they support.  Rebuild toe splay naturally, undoing the deviation and tapering from pointy shoes; can be used during running and exercise.

  • •Utilize a Metatarsal Pad to lift the transverse arch, and transitionally support plantar tissues as the body adjusts to plumb and level footwear.  Met pads can help bring toe tips into contact with the ground, encourage the fat pads back under the ball of the foot, and direct bodyweight into the medial and lateral arches.
  • •Get bodywork.  Learn to feel, move, release, and trust your body.

Rather than making you read more, I’ll invite you to scroll down to enjoy a bunch of videos on Natural Foot Health I’ve helped create (be sure to watch ‘em full screen), or click images to enlarge, or any hyperlinked words on this page to go deeper & learn more.

If you’ve got questions, comments, or a story to share feel free to get in touch.

Wishing you health,

Aaron Gustafson CAMT II, LMT