Ode to the Foot

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There’s a scene in the film “Out of Africa” (one of my all time favorites) in which Meryl Streep and Robert Redford’s characters discussing poetry over dinner.  He notes that there are poems written about all parts of the body, but none about the foot.  He claims this is due to the fact that nothing rhymes with “foot”.  Streep’s character looks him in the eye and says, “Along he came and he did put, upon my farm, his lovely foot.”

Our feet are our foundation and connection to the earth.  They’re the basis of our upright posture.  They stabilize us, and also keep us in motion.  Each foot is comprised of an astounding 26 bones.  Yes, that’s right.  I’m going to say it again.  Each foot is made of 26 bones.  The 7 tarsals of the ankle which, stacked-up like little stones, conjoin our feet to our lower leg; 5 long, thin metatarsals which form the arch of our foot; and the 14 short, thin phalanges of our toes.  (When I hear of someone breaking their ankle, I always ask “Which bone was fractured?”  The response is usually, “The ankle bone.”  So many of us don’t seem to know that the ankle consists of a myriad of bones and joints.)  A web of ligaments hold these bones together.  A sheath of fascia and muscle cover and conjoin the bones to each other and to our leg.  Several of the energetic meridians have their end points in the foot.

That’s a LOT of anatomy and responsibility packed into the relatively small package of the foot.  It’s no wonder that we frequently experience a great deal of discomfort in this area.  A healthy foot massage is a great tool to combat sore and tired feet, as well as more pressing foot issues like Plantar Fascitis (inflammation of the tendinous sheath that covers the sole of the foot), and fallen arches.  Disorders of the feet will effect our posture and frequently result in dozens of other bodily issues, from problematic knees, to low back pain, to neck issues and headaches.   It’s also important to care for the foot that isn’t crying out for help.  Regular, healthy massage of the feet can keep potential problems at bay.  Plus, foot massage is a fantastic stress-reliever and rejuvenation tool.  When we take care of our foundations,  the rest of us will be healthier.

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Mandy Meyer-Hill

NYS Licensed Massage Therapist

Stairway Healing Arts Center

1 Washington Street
Cambridge, NY  12816