I attended an Arches and Legs workshop in November 2013, which is part of a Fascial Release and Structural Balance series devised by Tom Myers and taught by James Earls.
The interaction of our feet with the ground underpins the whole body structure and any imbalances have consequences further up the body. Effective arch balance is essential for easy and graceful walking, pelvic stability, low back efficiency and neck and head support. The feet are literally the foundation for the rest of the structure. Where there is misalignment of foot bones, or muscular tension, the arches are affected. When muscle imbalance in the legs is present, they can be worked on with myofascial techniques, which in turn balances the arches and feet.
Here are some tips for self help
- If you have fallen arches you can strengthen the muscles of the foot on a daily basis by picking up a pencil or dragging a towel towards you with your toes, from a seated position.
- If you find that your big toe is bending towards the other toes, attach a strong rubber band between each big toe, lie on your back and then pull your feet apart so that the big toes get stretched out. Hold the tension to a count of 30 and repeat for a few minutes, every day.
- Here is another idea for the same problem. Cut a cork in half, lengthwise, and cover it with elastoplast tape for comfort. Then place the half corks between your big and second toes. It can then be taped in place overnight. This trains the fascia to stretch and make more room between the first 2 toes.
- If you suffer from plantar fasciatis you can receive myofascial work and dry needling and once back home put some Epson Salts in hot water in a large basin lined with pebbles and stand on them, or better still, march on the spot.
- To keep your feet flexible and supple, use a golf ball or tennis ball under your bare foot and move the foot backwards and forwards, or in a circular motion, to ease discomfort or tension. It is interesting to note that this also helps hamstring problems as it eases fascia along the back line.