With all the time we spend in our high heels and investing in beautiful shoes for our tango journey I think the time we spend out of them is just as important. Here is a short list of things I do when I am not in my heels dancing to take care of my feet: my foundation to dance forever.
1) Rolling the feet
I love rolling my feet out. I use this great device that was gifted to me during my modern dance days. You can use a tennis ball, too. I use it often. Even as I write this blog. I take it with me on trips. It’s an essential for me. Roll roll roll and often!
2) Happy Feet socks or a similar version of Foot alignment socks.
Some of you know that I am currently enrolled in a Whole Body Alignment course, where I have been reintroduced to my foundation: my feet! And these great socks! The goal of the socks is to separate those toes and enervate some of those unused muscles: 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and 1300 nerve endings per square inch of your sole (thanks to Theresa Perales, DPM). The foot is impressive! She recommends starting with about 30 minutes of wearing your Happy Feet socks per day and then gradually work up to sleeping in them. I remember when I first got mine, I could barely stand wearing them for 10 minutes! And I still can’t bring myself to sleep in them…but I notice a big difference in my feet overall. Using the socks has helped to relieve some stress and pressure in my feet. I can’t isolate all of my toes individually but maybe one day my feet will be as articulate as my hands. You can buy them on Amazon. (click on this link Foot alignment socks.)
3) Cold water soak
I never thought I’d become a fan of putting my feet in cold water but even in my early days of tango when I danced for endless hours in Buenos Aires I would find myself sitting with my feet in a sink filled with cold water in the early hours of the morning. And this remains a ritual. After dancing or even after a shower I stand in cold water for a few minutes or longer until my feet almost feel normal again. I always tell people to start off as cold as they can stand it and then stay in it for as long as they can stand it. This one takes some trust to believe that it will actually feel good at all, but it does. I got an email from a student in New Mexico who wrote to remind me that while I had been teaching there he had seen me stick my feet in cold water and therefore, remembering that he did it and found it very helpful to him in relieving his aching feet.
4) Arnica Montana
Arnicais a homeopathic remedy and before you stop reading, it does help some people with bruising. I find that rubbing it on my feet before going to bed also makes me feel relaxed. So this could be the fact that I have to massage it into my feet or that it provides some healing benefits. I believe it helps with soreness. I like to use the cream or the gel that I can find at my local Sprouts or Whole Foods.
5) Calf Stretch and / or Theraband (TM) stretch
There’s a fabulous calf stretch that I have added to my bag of tools. It too is from the Whole Body Alignment course. I take a towel and roll it up and place 1 foot with the metatarsals on the towel and the heel on the floor. I stand straight with the weight in my heels and then I slowly begin to move the other foot on the floor passed it. I keep my feet in a parallel position, weight in the heels and aim for the rest of my body to be in alignment, in a plumb line, and breathe into this stretch and then change feet. When you do this check to see if your but is sticking out or if your ribs are or what about your chin? Make adjustments to put them back in place and over time see the benefits of this one.
I also use my Theraband or use the towel and place it under my metatarsals and pull my feet towards me. Your feet will be flexing at the ankle joint. Do this with your knees straight and go easy – just a little at a time. I do it lying down and sometimes sitting down. Either way, remember to go easy.
6) Massage and Elevate
Better yet, if someone else massages for you, with some arnica or with some lavender lotion. Or I invest in some reflexology or some Thai massage sometimes. Or stick your feet up on the wall for a little while: lie on a bed or the floor and raise them onto the wall and just breathe…..
You can find information online about these ideas and more. Don’t hesitate to ask me about them to or I can show you a demo. That’s the next step – on video!!!
What do you do for your feet?