Soft Feet Are Happy Feet

Jack Heggie's running book

The best book I ever read on running was by Jack Heggie, ‘Running With The Whole Body,’ where he has a chapter on the development of soft feet, the best way to have happy feet.

flexor hallicus longus musclesI now find that my feet tell me all about the general tension in the rest of my body. For instance, if I have tightness on the lateral margin (outside edge) of one or both feet, it almost always indicates tightness in my hip rotators or gluteal muscles.

Tightness on the heel or along the bottom of my foot indicates one or more calf muscles are tense, while pain in a medial (inside) ankle (tendon site), or the bottom of a big toe, can be tracked down to tension in my flexor hallicus longus muscles. An old bugaboo of mine – yep, problems tend to come back, just like plantar fasciitis.

As I was walking happily along early this morning, with a fresh baguette for the teenager population in our house, I noticed that, in spite of a very hard trainer bike ride last night, my feet were very soft. I was wearing minimalist (Nike Free) shoes, which have two valuable properties, (1) they work constantly on arch activation, which is critical for running, and (2) they allow me to feel how my feet are interacting with the ground, providing guidance on the state of the rest of my body.

So remember, soft feet are happy feet.

Consider buying Jack Heggie’s Feldenkrais-based running book – it’s remarkable. It will help you to keep plantar fasciitis at bay, that’s for sure.

Soft happy feet embrace the ground wisely, as opposed to undertaking a damaging ground attack – the Earth will always win, it’s been around longer than you have.


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.