Foot deformities such as fallen arches, splay, kinked and hollow feet are not always congenital, but can develop over the course of a lifetime. They are often ignored as long as they do not cause pain or restrict movement. But in the long term, they can cause serious damage to the feet and other parts of the body. It is therefore important to be aware of the first signs, such as pain in the sole of the foot or in the Achilles tendon, and to take preventative measures.
Improving foot health takes time and initiative. The body has become accustomed to a certain posture over the years, often a protective posture, in order to avoid pain and damage. However, this posture is not always ideal for the feet.
The feet are designed to withstand a lot of movement and walking. But our daily lifestyle is often the opposite: we sit a lot, especially at the computer, and tighten our abdominal muscles in the process. This influences the entire body statics.
The posture of the head also has an influence on foot misalignment. When we pull in our stomach and let our head hang down, our gait changes. The heel strikes the ground hard and transfers about 60 kilos of weight to the joints and bones. Even cushioned sports shoes cannot prevent this shock. Many long-distance runners suffer from a heel spur, which feels like a nail in the heel. The orthopaedist can offer various therapies, including surgical removal of the spur.
In order to solve foot problems in the long term, the actual cause must be addressed: the body’s incorrect posture. This also includes training the foot muscles that support the arch of the foot. If the arch of the foot sinks (flat foot), the heel bends inwards (kinked foot) and the metatarsal bones spread (splayfoot). This can lead to further problems such as knee pain, pelvic blockages, back pain or a bony outgrowth on the big toe (hallux valgus). Hallux valgus is a type of “foot support” that the body forms to stabilize the arch of the foot. Surgery can change the appearance of the foot, but not the underlying problem.
Conservative insoles are one way of treating foot misalignments. They are designed to lift the arch of the foot and relieve pressure points. The foot is brought into a specific position. Orthopaedists often recommend wearing the insoles permanently as they have little time for their patients.
I’ve been wearing barefoot shoes for twelve years. At the time, I was about to have knee surgery and was in a lot of pain when walking and running. I soon realized that my body had been moving incorrectly for years. When I walked, I felt a lot of tension in my shoulders, hips and legs. The barefoot shoes made my muscles ache, which showed me that my body was adapting and realigning itself. After a few days, my heels started to hurt. I observed how children walked and came across the “Ballengang” and the book “GODO” by Dr. Peter Greb. Over the next few months, I went through an exciting research process. I tried to put my center of gravity on the forefoot when walking and roll less over the heel. I didn’t understand at the time that the “ball gait” had more to do with the whole body posture than with the feet. I walked through Berlin for many years in my “self-made” bale walk. I experienced many phases of pain, which led me to improve my gait pattern again and again. After a few years I understood the “ball gait” and my body became lighter and more relaxed. My knees no longer hurt when I walked (I escaped the operation)! My feet were strong and well supplied with blood with every step. Last year, I even hiked 600km on the pilgrimage route in Portugal with my barefoot sandals and completely barefoot. I had long since taken off my heavy hiking boots.
Over the years, I developed my own barefoot Tarasoles sandals, which I offered as “alternative insoles” in my naturopathic practice at the time. With these sandals, you can switch to the “bunion gait” because the soles are made of orthopaedic materials that are very soft and adapt to the foot. I recommend the “asphalt model” first, with therapy magnets or a grounding rivet to prevent inflammation and circulatory disorders.