Note: you can use hand balls and tennis balls for the following exercises.
High arches, fallen arches, pronation, corns, bunions, callouses, and most anything else that can go wrong with the feet can be positively affected by a simple (non-surgical!) procedure. If your feet hurt I can guarantee you need to use this inexpensive self-maintenance tool. In all the years and thousands of feet I've worked on, I have never met anyone who can''t benefit from these. You can fix your feet!
My how-to instructions for the Fix Your Feet Balls explains the exact procedures which will enable you to understand your feet and how to bring them back to normal. If you don't lose these balls, they should last indefinitely. Fix Your Feet Balls (in combination with tennis balls) are the perfect tools for working on your feet. There are 26 bones, 33 joints, and an unspecified number of hinges in each foot and if you can find any pain while standing on either tennis balls, or these Fix Your Feet Balls, then you can be sure that those 26 bones, 33 joints, and unspecified number of hinges are in a disorganized state. And if your feet are disorganized then you can be sure that the rest of your body is too. Look at the Leaning Tower of Pisa for illustration; poor foundation and everything above goes awry. Soreness (and downright excruciating pain) in the soft tissue is indicative of stressed and compromised musculature and thus inevitably as a result, skeletal disorganization.
How did your feet get so messed up you might ask? I'll tell you.
#1: Shoes which are not the shape of the healthy foot. Feet are not narrower at the front as most shoes are. Cram your foot into one and over time your foot will become shaped similarly. Think about the interesting cultural tradition of binding the feet in China and then look at the more subtle, but similar in effect, tradition of women wearing high heeled shoes in our culture and the disastrous repercussions. No natural foot is shaped anything like most of the shoes people wear, with recognizable results.
#2: Heels (anything over ½" high) which lift the back of the foot up and put too much pressure on all three arches: the transverse arch ( across the balls of the foot), the medial arch (inside), and the lateral (outside) arch. This pressure compresses the bones of the foot and inhibits the arches from working the way they were designed to work, as springs.
#3: Arch supports which inhibit the medial arch from dropping down to work as the spring it is designed to be. When the foot steps onto the ground it is meant to spread width-wise and also to lengthen (like a spring). Shoes which do not allow this spreading and lengthening destroy the natural functioning of the wonderful foot and cause all kinds of problems, not all of which are localized in the foot. People who feel they need arch supports and orthotics have extremely disorganized feet and using said “crutches" are only setting the distortions deeper into the disorganized structure of the foot, as well as everything above it. This of course leads to plenty of future problems for the complications resulting. Great for the manufacturers of these products and the administering physicians but not so good for you.
#4: Walking on hard, flat surfaces. We humans love to make everything around us simple and easy; trying to make it so no effort is required, and this we call progress and civilization. So things do get easier (no need to lift the garage door up, the automatic opener does it for you, saves you time so you can go to the gym and lift weights) and we, as a culture get more spoiled and weak in many ways. Anyway, walking on flat surfaces doesn't require the 26 bones of the foot to move much; uneven surfaces (take a hike someday) actually massage the joints and hinges of the feet, mobilize the ankles, and cause differentiating movement to occur through all the calf muscles.
#5: Walking with the feet turned out (like a duck). This is very common and wreaks havoc with the ways the arches, hinges, and joints of the foot are designed to work as the foot lands and pushes off the ground during organized walking. This practice also destroys ankle function and creates a dense, painful calf, due to the fact that the ankle joint and the calf muscles are not required to move at all when walking this way.
The good news is this: normalizing your feet through the use of tennis balls and Fix Your Feet Balls is the first, and most likely last, step to putting an end to callouses, corns, bunions, plantar fasciaitis, pain in your feet in general, etc. All of this occurs as a result of disorganization. Feet abnormalities stem from disorganization, and if you can fix that, you fix it all.
*As you work out the pain and soreness in your feet with these balls you will be allowing the 3 arches (medial, lateral, transverse), the 26 bones, the 33 joints, and the unspecified number of hinges to reestablish themselves back to normal, individually, and in relation to each other.
High arches will eventually drop into normal, and flat feet, when the tension holding them down is released, will be able to rise into normalcy. *(This requires some exercising of the inner arches by stepping your feet apart medium-wide with your knees bent and your feet turned out. Begin to push your knees apart while lifting your medial, inner, arches. Do not lift your heels or the balls of your big toes off the floor. Practice walking on the balls of your feet. )
No matter what anyone tries to sell you, never use hard balls like golf balls or wooden tools to work on your feet. It's too easy to mistake uncovering and dissolving pain with inflicting pain. It's not hard to bruise your feet and that will only set you back. *On that note, I never recommend using wooden implements in general for self-massage, for the same reason. You can be very efficient, with more appropriate tools, without the risk.
If your foundation (your feet) is not organized then nothing above them has any chance to function properly.
And by the way, as you release and organize your feet, they will get bigger. This is a good thing! If you find your shoes beginning to feel as though they belong to someone else and feel too tight, this means you are doing a great job. Discontinue wearing those shoes, throw them out or give them away. Your feet will reshape themselves to the old mold if you let them. Don't! Cut loose and move forward. Stand on your own two new feet!
OK already, so how do I use them?
This is done in one of two ways.
1) Stand with one ball (tennis or handball) under each foot. *Use only one ball under one foot if it is just too intense. If this is the case then you have got a project ahead of you but one worth undertaking!
Slowly shift your weight from foot to foot, each time changing the position of the ball a little bit. Take a nice slow breath and exhale for each pressure on the ball. Gradually work your way around the entire bottom of your foot. Each time you step onto the ball it will be in a different place, and little by little, you will “clear" the area. Clear means no pain. Rolling the balls around the bottoms of your feet does nothing we are interested in. It may feel like a little massage but it will do nothing to structurally reorganize the foot, which is what I want you to do.
Each session, I recommend using tennis balls to start out with, and then alternating with Fix Your Feet Balls. Replace your tennis balls as they begin to get soft. *Put 3 of your softer tennis balls in a sock and tie the top off tight. Use this tool to work on your hips and sacral area. See the complete instructions on the Flextasy website.
2) Use this method if it is too intense to stand on the balls at all, or if you just want to get at the feet from a different angle. Sit on a stool, or low step of the stairs, and put one ball under each foot. (Hopefully you can use the Fix Your Feet Balls for this, but I have had clients who have had to start this way with soft, worn-out tennis balls. Yikes!) Lean forward and rest your forearms on your legs near your knees. Lean as much pressure onto the balls as you comfortably, uncomfortably can. SLOWLY begin moving the balls around the bottoms of your feet. SLOWLY, cover the whole bottom, all the while looking for pain and trying to lovingly dissolve it. Don't miss any spots. In case you haven't noticed, SLOWLY, is the key word for this process.
Remember, the good part about this, and all of the tools I recommend, is that YOU are in charge. Take it easy and figure it out. It's just you and your pain. Work it out at your own pace, but work it out!
Blue Dunn: Originator of Flextasy! the Functional Flexibility System".
Since 1991 I have been teaching variations of Flextasy!" to my personal clients, massage therapists in training at numerous massage schools in San Diego, and to people from all walks of life at two Sharp Hospital Centers.
During this time I have had the opportunity to study thousands of random bodies, in every stage of distortion and chronic pain, attempting to get out of pain and become more flexible. The Flextasy!" DVD is the remarkable result of this extensive research.
Tightrope / Tight-wire Artist and Instructor - As an accomplished tightrope and tight-wire artist (17 years), I have been instrumental in assisting students wishing to utilize the medium of Balance as a powerful catalyst for lifetime change.
I am currently finishing the book on Flextasy!" which includes detailed descriptions on the movements and their purpose. This is a book for the layperson and contains over 20 enlightening essays on how your body got to be the way it is, the mystery of the soft tissue, the fascial web, understanding your pain cycle, tension and stress, exercise physiology reexamined, and much more.
All of the products I have made available to the public are ones I regularly use to my great benefit. 20 years of search, research, and experiment have resulted in this creme de la creme, my collection of favorites, which have changed my life, and the lives of my private clientele for the positive, and can change yours too. Don't hesitate to email me with any questions regarding any of these products.