‘Tis the season to dust off yourheavy-dutyfootwear to battle the cold and harsh elements of the winter season. If you live in an area where all types of precipitation accumulates like I do, you’re sure to have winter gear to endure the wet stuff. Our feet take a beating trudging through icy, snowy, and slippery conditions, which can lead to physical pain in the body.

     Chronic foot pain is common in the United States and preventing pain is as simple as making the healthier choice with your shoes. Culturally, fashion has a huge influence on what you adorn your feet with and many cannot part ways with their trendy or stylish footwear. Basketball sneakers, high heels, boots, flip flops, ballet flats, etc. each create its own host of postural imbalances throughout the body. I am not here to chastise what you wear or demonize footwear, but it is helpful to understand how and whymodern-dayshoes can be harmful and create unhealthy posture.

     Although footwear is necessary for fulfilling daily activities, there are many ways to offset the adverse effects caused by them. Here are a few suggestions:

I. Show Your Feet Off
Though it may be cold and there might be a slushy mess outside, start developing the habit of kicking the shoes off and baring your feet more often in your house/apartment. And if you’re comfortable enough at the office, expose your footsies during your work hours. It is important to maintain a connection to the floor or Earth in order to cultivate more arch support and create a stable foundation for the rest of the structures above the feet to balance and stabilize on.

II. Minimize Time Spent in Fashionable Heels, Shoes, Boots, Etc
This may not be what you want to hear but fashionable footwear can lead to physical issues and pain. High heels,pointed-toe shoes, and athletic sneakers limit the range of motion in your ankles, knees, and hips. They shift your bodyweight forward creating unhealthy compensations and structural imbalances throughout the rest of your body.

Prolonged periods of time in high, elevated heels can lead to nagging pain, tension, and discomfort. And worse yet, these symptoms may debilitate into plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, bunions, and other chronic foot issues. I’m not asking to completely do away with your shoe collection that you’ve grown to love but do try to limit your time in them and counteract this habit withself-careto prevent more aches, tension, and pain. Besides, is suffering through foot pain worth looking sexy and stylish sporting your fancy footwear? (and some people will emphatically say. “Yes!”)

III. Neutralize the Adverse Effects of Your Footwear
A few simple habits to practice, especially if you spend prolonged periods of timein uncomfortable, harmful footwear.

NYC Structural Integration Recommends Being Barefoot Often  1. Take off your shoes whenever possible and spend more time in your bare feet.


 

 NYC Structural Integration Prescribes Consistent Self Foot-Care2. Massage your feet. Invest 10–15 minutes at a minimum in self-care and pay attention to your feet. It will do wonders for your mood especially if your feet tend to experience nagging discomfort.

 

NYC Structural Integration Likens to Stretch Your Toes with Your Fingers3. Stretch your toes out by threading your fingers between each toe and slowly spread your fingers apart and hold until you feel a nice stretch. Stay in this stretch until you feel relief.

 

 

 

 NYC Structural Integration Suggests To Avidly Stretch Your Legs4. Stretch your lower and upper legs (calves, hamstrings, quads,etc) a few times throughout your day. Lower leg structures (tibialis anterior, tibilalis posterior, and peroneals) coincide in forming the 3 arches of your feet. Lengthening these areas will benefit your feet too.

 

IV. Invest in Hand & Foot Massage Balls

Our feet take such a beating day in and day out. Self-treatment, or myofascial release products, such as the Melt Method or T-Spheres are profoundly helpful in relieving the connective tissue in the soles of our feet. Melting our foot padding will diminish tension caused by repetitive daily activities in both hands and feet, and in more distant areas like the knees, hips, lower back, and shoulders. You’ll be addicted to the revitalizing sensation these products bring back to your body by melting for just a few minutes per day!

Your feet are vital as they are the sacred foundation for support, balance, mobility, healthy posture, functioning of your vital organs, and much more.  Pain in the feet causes restriction of movement in the entire body and can debilitate into immobility, labored movement, and induce feelings of depression, malaise, and helplessness. As New Yorkers, we heavily depend on our feet and legs as our primary means of transportation walking the city streets. It goes without saying that incorporating these basic practices and healthier habits into our lives will promote longevity for our posture and overall health. It would also keep us trekking the concrete jungle longer and more efficiently, no matter which season of the year it is.

Your Thoughts?

What do you do to take care of your feet to ward off the effects of uncomfortable winter footwear or shoes in general? Do you have simple yet effective habits to share? Any questions, suggestions, and comments are welcome!

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