Cold Feet…Warm Heart??
It’s official: winter is NEVER going to end. At this rate I will be finding sidewalk salt in the clinic until July! In truth, having five snow days in four weeks has me thinking about one thing… feet!! Let’s talk about how to keep your feet feeling good in the middle of winter.
You body uses three main strategies to keep you balanced and upright: your eyes, your ears, and your feet. You eyes are constantly scanning your surroundings for hazards, obstacles and points of reference. The vestibular system in your ears, helps us maintain positioning with activities such as walking, running and riding in a vehicle. Lastly, your feet deliver proprioceptive cues about the ground you are traversing.
Now imagine there are three inches of snow on the ground. How does the snow affect your feet and balance? Not for the better! In fact, your feet are doing double time, inches of snow and thick soled boots make it hard for your feet to feel changes in the ground. If it is snowy AND icy your toes may curl in your boots, in a vein attempt to help grip on unsteady ground, shortening the flexor digitorum and the plantar fascia of your foot. That tightness slowly creeps up into your achilles, calf and eventually pulls on your entire posterior chain of muscles.
Unfortunately, most boots (especially our cute UGGs and Sorels) do not have a supportive foot bed to ease the load on your feet. On average, it takes just over an hour to shovel and/or snowblow a driveway. That is the equivalent of walking for an hour in flip flops.
How can you combat cold-weather foot fatigue? Place an over-the-counter insole in your boots to support your arch and decrease the strain on your feet and calves. Once the driveway is cleared and you come in to warm up, slide your feet into a light shoe or slipper with an arch, not just stocking feet or a flat soled house slipper. And finally, take the time to roll your feet on a lacrosse ball or golf ball regularly. Three to five minutes on a lacrosse ball will work out any muscle soreness and tightness that may cause further injury.