About Your Foot Posture


Strap yourselves in for this one. It’s a bit of a long one, all about your feet – but I hope you find it interesting and helpful!

Unless we’re in pain, most of us rarely think about our feet, but the mobility and ‘posture’ of our feet is a huge factor in the way we move.

In fact, a growing percentage of us wear orthotics daily, hoping to reduce pain or correct foot movement or posture.

And orthotics can work. Supporting the arch of your foot does provide pain relief – but, they should only be a short term solution, a part of a bigger plan for fixing the source of the pain, since simply relying on supporting our foot arches will lead to a reduction in foot strength.

There is a small percentage of people who do have structural issues and do need to wear orthotics long term, but most of us would do well to improve the function of our feet by addressing the root cause.

Let’s think about our footwear first. In most shoes (and especially trainers) as well as our toes being squashed into a space which doesn’t allow them to spread naturally, our heels are elevated at least a little, and the toe spring at the front of the shoe raises our toes up too. Most trainers have a significant toe drop – often 12mm – which is designed to make your shoes more comfortable to walk in.

Imagine an arch bridge – what would happen if you raised both ends? The arch would be under pressure and want to flatten – and this is what’s happening when we wear shoes elevated at both ends.

In our natural position when we’re standing barefoot though, our heels and toes lie flat on the floor in order to allow our heels and the balls of our toes to support our body weight in the way they were designed to.

It’s the way your feet function which is important, rather than the way they look. This means that arch height does not automatically mean there is or isn’t a problem – but, weak, overmobile or stiff feet which can’t move in the way they should is indicative that there’s room to improve foot function.

During most of our history, we either walked barefoot or wore foot shaped shoes, and in parts of the world where they don’t wear modern footwear, they have healthier feet. Bunions, hammer toe and plantar fasciitis etc are all not helped by our modern footwear – just consider the type of shoes women like to wear, and then that podiatrists estimate that 70% of women develop a bunion over their lifetime.

So, what’s the solution?

First up, buy shoes which fit. You need a wide toe box in order to allow your toes to spread when you’re weight bearing, and you need your shoes to position your foot in as natural a way as possible, as well as being flexible enough to let your feet act normally.

Also, spend more time barefoot to allow your feet to stretch out and strengthen. You could even do your workouts barefoot too.

If you’re always wearing some kind of footwear, make sure you build up your barefoot time gradually. Going barefoot around the house more often could be a good place to start. Remember your feet do have muscles, so you might feel a bit of muscle ache when you first start.

Do some foot exercises to help improve your foot posture – send me a message and I’ll gift you some time with me via video to learn some exercises.

You could wear a toe spacer orthotic to encourage your toes to spread naturally. Correct Toes can be worn inside your shoes, and according to some research, can remove the need to do stand alone foot exercises.

And, if you’re already in pain, perhaps a pair of well fitted orthotic inserts can provide support while you’re improving your foot posture in other ways.

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