We will be taking a trip to Alaska. My new bride has booked a cruise with many excursions to the great outdoors. That means that we have to find clothes that will be both sensible and cute as we hike and boat and whale watch and ice climb and all that sort of Alaska stuff. So we have to get shoes. Smart shoes. Cute shoes.
She’s not really known for being a woman in comfortable shoes. In fact, she broke her toe three hours before our wedding and didn’t let on until we were headed to the reception. Look at those strappy heels. Didn’t even wince. She’s amazing.
So there I am in REI. I was trying on a North Face vest and she walked around the corner in some grey trail runners. Hmmm. I’m thinking… “well, this is new ground for her and these aren’t the sort of thing that she would wear much if they’re that ugly.” I need to be sensitive without looking too sensitive. Or alarmed. Or disinterested. Focus, man.
“I like them but they seem a little too ‘Merrell’ for you.”
“Yea, I know what you mean, will you come over to the shoes.”
This could be really tedious and really boring but much less tedious than traveling with a woman who has ugly, painful shoes that are too loose and blister her feet. Worse than that, this problem leads to an unstable ankle that easily sprained ankle when it gets worse. You can read about that in this post.
She finds another pair that looks better. She could wear these with jeans and they’d be okay for her “soft autumn” color scheme and… jeez, I know way too much about this.
“What do you think of these?”
“I those look better. They’re cute on you.”
“I think so too!”
“They go better with jeans and the colors you wear.”
“I think so too! But the right one fits and the left one doesn’t”
“Really? Where?” (My inner bodyworker comes out.)
“It hurts in the arch on the left”
“Up top here?”
“NO. On the bottom. Right here.” (points to inside of foot)
“Oh that’s a displaced fibular head that creates a trigger point at the base of the first metatarsal”
“Um, I can fix that.”
“I think it’s the shoe.”
“Listen, let me work on your foot for just a second and see if it fits better.”
“No, it’s the shoe”
“It’d be bad if we wasted money on big shoes that create a blister when we are traveling.”
“You can’t work on my foot here.”
“Just for a second.” (smile)
“Fine.” (eye roll)
When she pointed, I knew the pattern. It is an accessory of the cranial pattern know as left lateral strain. That pattern creates an anterior shear in the pelvis, which displaces the fibular head and creates the trigger point. I know this technique well and use it often. I need about 2 minutes to release it.
This is a picture of the technique out my manual. I teach it in my classes. This trigger point in the bottom of the foot is very sensitive and difficult to release without this technique. It is effortless and virtually painless to do with this technique. Again, it is about understanding how joints activate and deactivate trigger points.
Back at REI, I’ve fiddled with her foot and leg for a second and we’ve laughed about how silly we look with me holding her leg. She puts the shoe back on. She gets up and walks. I can see by her gait that it is fixed but I watch her blankly.
“How’s that shoe fitting?” (furrowed brow)
“It’s fine. You fixed it!” (big smile)
“Well, what do you know…” (smile with eye roll)
I do a lot of foot work to get rid of acute issues especially when they are created by bad shoes. Ahem, sorry. The shoes aren’t bad, their behavior is bad. I’ve gotten a lot of women out of pain and back in their expensive shoes by fixing their foot so that it will adapt to the shoe again. Often, “bad shoes” are really stiff joints in feet that need some work.
I really like to fix things from the craniosacral system. It makes global changes in the system so that the system is better at self-correcting. I talk about that in this post. But local work is often they best approach when the problem is acute or the client just needs to see that the can get relief. Earlier this year, I had a runner that came in with a problem in his knee and hamstring. I spent almost 90 minutes just working on his foot. He ran his marathon and, when I see him at his restaurant, tells me that he needs to see me work the other foot. Eventually, he will.
Tony Preston has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points and cranial therapies since the mid-90s. He has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients.