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Solving Feet Problems

The mucous sheaths of the tendons around the a...
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Is there anything about your feet that just doesn’t work? Do you have one of these common feet conditions:

  • plantar fasciitis (tightness and pain in the bottom of the foot)
  • heel spurs (bone growth due to strain)
  • neuromas (pinched nerve)
  • bunions (the big toe is bent)

The problem

Whatever your problem, it is likely it is caused by:

  • improper walking
  • structural misalignment
  • soft tissue tension

You might say, “I inherited this condition. It’s genetics.” But your soft tissue tension, movement patterns, and much of your structure is not just genetic – it’s learned at an early age. You learned it so early and so unconsciously it seems genetic.

When any part of your body experiences constant strain, even slight strain, that part will create scar tissue over time to protect and heal the area. For example, a high arch often creates more strain for the plantar fascia or connective tissue on the bottom of the foot. Eventually this facial irritation becomes painful from each step straining it. For some people the standard remedies, such as orthotics, may help. For others, the only permanent remedy is releasing the fascia of the whole leg, not just the foot. The stride of the whole leg affects how the foot lands, so the problem will return if the stride is not changed.

The solution

The 26 bones of the feet sit in a soft tissue sock. The tendons act like a puppeteer’s strings, traveling up to the muscles of the lower leg. The sock gets tight and distorted, but often much of the problem comes from above the foot. For example, the posterior tibialis muscle with its tendon is part of the stirrup that lifts the arch. All babies start with flat feet. How you develop your walk determines how your arch develops. If you’re like me, and have flat feet, your walk developed with you misusing the posterior tibialis causing it to become tight. I was amazed to see my flat feet change back in the 70’s when I was Rolfed. They’re still somewhat flat – but they work now.

While I operated my clinic in Scottsdale, I treated many world-class runners. Once we released the tension and aligned their legs and feet, then taught them the natural walk (which is the basis for the run) their problems disappeared. In every case, these runners set new personal records.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advance Rolfer, www.align.org, 265.8440.

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