Today, in my morning class, I did a small series of foot stretching that I haven't done for a while - and was rewarded by great feeling feet and enhanced proprioception all day. It reminded me of the first time I did the 'foot wringing out' in a Posture & Flexibility class at the ANU, in Canberra.
Most adults find it weird to stretch/play with their feet, so whenever you teach foot stretching you often observe some puzzled looks.. then grimaces as people realize how tight and restricted their feet are (from shoes and other things).
People are often just plain baffled by their feet, which they never pay the time of day to - which is odd, if you think about what people pay attention to. Yes, the feet can be far away from the eyes and head (if you are sufficiently tall), but they are still part of the body. Yet another hallmark of that silent epidemic: the epidemic of lack of body awareness. Sit on a bench some time, coffee in hand (for 30 minutes), and watch people walk by.. and tell me it's not an epidemic!
The basic foot sequence I did consisted of: The foot 'towel wringing'; PNF contractions for the 4 smaller toes in flexion and extension (lightly, and with some traction); PNF for the Big Toe (again in both flexion and extension). We also did some sitting-on-the-heels in the warm-up.
I used to have restricted and painful feet doing a number of the joint mobility and stretching exercises that expose such things, but through significant effort this changed (slowly and not too painfully) - and now I am rewarded with being able to do most foot exercises pain-free, and as such have much stronger, more mobile and more aware feet.
Yes, today had foot and lower leg feel to it. I filmed an exercise I created that really gets the deep posterior compartment muscles working, that I will post up as soon as it is edited. I'm really excited to get it up and have others report back with sensations/findings.