Sore feet and calves?…

Have you considered it might be your gait? Take a look at your shoes and see how the heels wear down. Inside heel wear suggests that your ankle rolls inward while walking, which means you over-pronate; and the out-side heel wear is when the ankle rolls outward, which means you supinate.

Most of us don’t pay too much attention to our feet. I had a problem with mine and I only sought help when it was so painful I couldn’t walk. In hindsight, I can now clearly see the gradual decline. Here’s a quick history of my feet!

Age 17 – Injured my foot arch trail running in high-tops. (I now see that wasn’t a good idea.)

Age 28 – Whilst pregnant I pretty much became flat-footed due to carrying the extra weight.

Age 35 – Took up running and bought a non-specific pair of trainers. Noticed feet and calves were getting sore and resorted to wearing thick-soled shoes to compensate.

Age 37 – Ended up with plantar fasciitis! https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/plantar-fasciitis/


Essentially, because the arch of my foot dropped I was then over-pronating. Starting running in incorrect shoes exacerbated this. Overprotecting the foot by wearing thicker soles only held off the inevitable for a little while longer. It’s so obvious now:)


Overpronation – Causes tension on the inside of the calve as the muscles there are permanently overstretched.

Over supination – Causes the opposite, as the outer calve muscles are overstretched.

Taking care of your feet

Here are a few amazingly useful things to try immediately if your feet are painful or just tired from a long day standing:

Ice

Fill a recycled plastic bottle (single-use size) three- quarters full of water and freeze.


To use: Sit down and roll it back and forth under the sole of your foot (with socks on). It helped my plantar fasciitis enormously as it reduced the pain and inflammation. It also works on tired feet, or after running. It is so good it’s rude not to try it!

Massage using a golf ball

Using a golf ball to self-massage your feet is pretty amazing. Remember to appreciate that the bones in the feet don’t have much padding covering them so take it easy.  Sit down, watch TV, put the golf ball under the sole of the foot and simply move it around. If you want to be more deliberate with your approach, try rolling it up and down the length of the sole, around the edges of your heel and even gently manipulate your toes with it. 

Now combine the above!

Work gently with the golf ball for 10minutes and then ice using your frozen bottle.

Why should I massage my feet?

Because if you don’t you’ll end up coming to see me! 

If you are in a job where you are on your feet a lot or you like running, the massage above is excellent. Also, pamper tired feet by adding Epsom salts to your bath or foot soak. 


How should I exercise my feet and calves?

The crux of foot pain as an adult is that we don’t move our feet ‘about’ enough. What I mean by this is we do not use the full range of movement. If you watch a child, they move forward and back, as we do. They also move side to side, up onto the toes, down onto the heels etc. A full range of movement.


Drills that football players practice, which involve direction changes, are great for building calve, ankle and foot strength.


For slightly less energetic folk Yoga is also brilliant. Many postures include balance which promotes muscle tone and strengthening of your ankles.


Runners often get foot and leg issues if the only exercise they do is running. Consider a gym session to work on your leg adductors and abductors too. Also, get a gait test done at most good running shops, so you are best advised on buying the correct trainer.

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