Book Review: Every Woman's Guide to Foot Pain Relief
According to biomechanist Katy Bowman, M.S., aching feet and debilitating pain impact one out of four women in the USA. Bowman has dedicated her life's work to teaching health and healing, starting with the "root" of alignment issues—your feet. In addition to her work at The Restorative Exercise Institute, consulting for footwear companies and creating foot exercise DVD series, she has now written a book specifically targeting women.
Every Woman's Guide to Foot Pain Relief is an unabashed plea to womankind to retire high heels and to learn more about foot health. Bowman does not go as far to say you should never don the spikes, but that your primary focus should be on strengthening and stretching your feet and making healthy footwear (or barefoot) choices as your primary day-to-day wardrobe. The book is an easy-to-ready overview of foot anatomy, function and exercises, and also offers a path forward for people suffering from foot pain.
"Leonardo da Vinci referred to the foot as the most complex piece of machinery ever designed... 25% of our bones, muscles and motor nerves reside from the ankle down."
We are born with the potential to move our feet and toes as we do our fingers and hands. While the exercises in Bowman's book don't guarantee you'll be playing the piano with your toes, they do open up your mind to the enormous unused potential our feet can tap into (no pun intended)—which will contribute to lifelong health. Bowman asserts that these exercises are not limited to eliminating foot pain, but may also ease knee, hip and lower back pain as well.
Bowman also covers some potentially controversial ideas about foot alignment (e.g. straight vs. slightly turned out alignment or wearing negative heel shoes). After all, what is a discussion about feet without controversy? For some reason, feet, footwear and foot health have always invited passionate opinions on what is right or wrong. Bowman has some impressive credentials and makes a good case. While you may not agree with all her points, I find any thoughtful discussion about foot health is a good one to get us engaged and continue learning (plus, we were delighted to discover she recommends our shoes for children).
At Soft Star we believe passionately in healthy feet, including exercising your feet. Bowman's book is a thoughtful and helpful resource loaded with photos and detailed descriptions of foot-strengthening and posture-improving exercises.