Do you find yourself wearing shoes from the moment you wake up to the minute you go to bed? Do you experience pain in your foot when you walk barefoot? Many people are always in shoes and think that is because walking barefoot is bad for you. In reality, it is just because they don’t have the mobility and strength in their foot anymore.
If you want to get back to not feeling like you have to wear shoes 24/7, you came to the right place! Keep reading and you can find out what you can do to prevent pain while walking barefoot!
Let’s start with the basic anatomy of your foot. There is a lot going on in your foot; you have bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, connective tissue and nerves that all need to work together and help form your anatomy of the foot. You’re foot is made up of 3 arches; two longitudinal (medial and lateral) arches and one anterior transverse arch. Although you are supposed to have 3 arches, many people only actually have 1 because of the muscles making up those arches have not been able to maintain the strength.
When we wear shoes, our feet do not have to do as much work as walking barefoot. Our foot was made to do a lot of work and absorb shock from walking or running. Like anything, when we wear something that assists and provides support, our muscles don’t have to work as hard and they start to lose strength and our muscles atrophy; shoes do the same thing to our feet. Shoes are not meant to replace what your feet can do, but rather enhance what they can do and keep them safe from sharp objects that may hurt your foot.
The first step to start transitioning from wearing shoes 24/7 to going barefoot is to take a look at what type of shoe you are currently wearing. A good shoe is one with a flexible sole, a wide toe box so your toes have room to spread while walking and no heel lift. If you are wearing a shoe with the exact opposite of what was just suggested, you would benefit from looking for a shoe with slightly less and slowly transition and get your foot use to something with less of a cushion, heel or with a wider toe box.
The second thing to do now is to start to get more mobility in your foot. You can do this by stretching your calves, toes and just moving your foot around a little bit more when not in a shoe. This may take time if you have been wearing a shoe that did not allow your foot to move at all. A good thing to start with is moving your foot through the ABC’s to allow all motions of the foot.
Once you have more mobility in your foot, it is time to start to strengthen those muscles that you just elongated. This will help with developing those arches you are supposed to have and have them help stabilize the foot again. The more strength and mobility you have in your foot alone, the less assistance you will need from your shoe and the closer you are to walking barefoot again! You can start with heel raises, toe raises, toe curls and foot scoops.
In conclusion, you will need to start slow with this process. Chances are you have been relying on shoes to help do the work your foot is supposed to be doing and it won’t happen overnight. To start, do stretches and exercises daily, either in the morning or at night or both! These are not hard exercises and you can perform them while sitting at your desk at work or while watching TV at night. Next start by walking around barefoot for 10 minutes each day and gradually increase the time each week as tolerated until you are able to walk barefoot for a couple of hours at at time without any pain.
If you begin to experience pain in your foot that won’t go away, seek a medical expert. Physical therapy is a great way to start. At physical therapy, we will be able to help you get that mobility and strength that you need in order to walk barefoot or be as minimalistic as possible without any pain and ensure you are doing exercises correctly and properly.
For those of you who want to learn how to prevent any injuries and avoid any pain go to our website, Robbinspt.com for a free course on the foot and ankle and learn some exercises you can do right now to help strengthen and get ready for flip-flop season.
If you are ready to get started right away, then do not hesitate to give a call at 610-841-3555 and get started on the path to healing right away.
Thanks all for now! Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below and if you sign up for a course you will be able to get to stay on top of all things Robbins Rehab!