Ode to my Feet

Ugh.  My poor, poor, pitiful feet.  My feet – a sight for sore eyes.  Scarred, peeling, blackened toe nails, missing toe nails, long toes, short toes, nail fungus (shh) and did I mention BIG?!  I’m not sure about your feet, but the ones attached to the end of my legs are U.G.L.Y.  When I started dating my husband, he asked me if I wouldn’t mind putting my socks back on.  It’s been a long standing joke, but I did not blame him in the slightest.  I was not blessed with pretty feet.  Lets be honest, feet in general have a bad rap.

(Photo credit: Brice Ferre)

However, I am no longer ashamed of the two odd balls I was born with.  Today, after my run, I was sitting on the couch and I glanced over at my bare feet.  I felt bad for them.  I felt awful that I have disliked them my whole life.  Instead, I should be grateful for them.  These ugly feet have carried me around for the last 35 years. Oh, the places these feet have brought me, the races they have won, the mountains they have climbed, the miles they achieve each week! It’s amazing they still work.  I (we) should honor our feet.  Their job isn’t easy nor is it pretty.

I’m sure there are some fellow runners out there who have endured some foot surgery over the years to keep the tootsie working properly.  My feet are part of that unlucky group and sport a few scars from it.  When I was 14, I had bilateral 5th metatarsal osteotomy, which was a huge success and I haven’t had any issues since.  Three years ago I had a bunionectomy with a revision the following year, which was a nightmare.  I still have discomfort in my big toe joint and have lost range of motion.  In addition, the plantar fasciitis comes and goes, but all in all, I can’t complain because I’m still running, walking, hiking, biking and loving life and I am appreciative of the job these feet do on a daily basis.

Our feet are something we need to pay more attention to as runners.  Do you have a good podiatrist you like?  Are you wearing the proper running shoes?  Do you supinate or pronate when you run?  Do you REALLY know your feet?

Just a quick FYI: Your foot and ankle have a whopping 26 bones!  Yes, you read that right! Twenty-six!  There are 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments that make up the foot and ankle.  The foot is very complicated and unique.  It should get way more praise and attention then we give it.

So, the next time your in the shower, maybe give your feet an extra little scrub.  Take notice of any blisters or reddened areas.  When your stretching your hamstrings, look down at those feet and give them a stretch, a rub or even a quick massage.  There are over 7,000 nerve endings in your foot so they can be very sensitive and would probably appreciate the extra love.

Simply LOVE your feet.  They may be ugly, but don’t hate them.  Be PROUD of your feet, they have helped you achieve so many things as a runner. Don’t be ashamed of the flaws your feet might have.  Each of us has a set of unique tootsies that we shouldn’t hide under a pair of socks.  Flaunt your black toe nails, your bunions or long toes and treat your feet with respect.  Every footprint is different.  Now go run your heart out and thank your feet at the finish line!

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