While there are many ways to track progress and hold yourself accountable when it comes to your fitness goals, how can we do the same for our overall foot health?
Let's say your goal is to lose 25 pounds...
To track this you step on a scale, record the number, and hope that through proper habits the number goes down the next time you check. Another option, which I am more of a fan of is to just use a mirror and see how you look. Alternatively, you can reference how tight or loose your pants are.
Have you gotten stronger? Measure your max deadlift. Has your vertical leap improved? Measure by trying to jump and touch something that you weren't able to before. You get the point.
So, how do we measure and assess the fruits of our labor when it comes to exercising/being barefoot? Hint, it has nothing to do with whether or not your feet are flat.
Step 1 - Take your shoes off
Step 2 - Snap a picture of the bottom of your feet.
In all honesty, I haven't done this in a very long time time and I immediately have some answers to the issues I have been having.
1. My left knee wanting to cave in (knee valgus) when doing lunges/single leg work.
2. Weakness in my left hip
So what can I see in this photo?
By measuring the angle from the center of my heel to the big toe, my left foot is almost at 90 degrees (89) as indicated with red line. Compare that with my right foot and the angle is wider at about 83 degrees (green line).
What else can we assume from this photo?
My left foot will pronate slightly more than my right. This is because having a more natural outward line prevents the foot from rolling inward. As the foot rolls in, this starts a domino effect up the chain to the knees, hips, and lower back.
So how does this carry over to training?
In my case with my hip and knee as mentioned earlier, the focus will be on pressing and spreading the big toe while lunging, squatting, and everything else for that matter. A fun exercise for focusing on this is the Rubber Band trick.
You can't get to the engine if you don't pop the hood...
While exercising barefoot is the only way to go, you still need to understand what's going on from the ground up. Whether you regularly go barefoot or you are one of those people that sleeps with their shoes on, give this exercise a try and you will be sure to learn a thing or two.