Foot pain and reflexology treatment

How delightful would it be to dance into spring with pretty painted toes, soft heels and, more importantly, no foot pain? It’s possible.

“The job of feet is walking, but their hobby is dancing.” Amit Kalantri

First, a little bit more about these two important, yet sadly often neglected parts of your body. The feet really do have a rotten deal. They carry us throughout our lives, get shoved into ill-fitting shoes and are seldom given the praise and recognition they deeply deserve.

As a Pilates instructor and therapeutic reflexologist, I’ve seen 100s of pairs of feet in my studio; all of which tell a tale. Hardly ever have I heard anyone say, “I love my feet.” They are always berated and presented to me with embarrassment and copious apologies for how ugly they are.

The magnificent structures of feet

Each foot consists of 26 bones, 33 joints, over 30 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons. Don’t forget the 250 000 or so sweat glands in both, or the 7 000 nerves in each.

The feet are the most superb shock absorbers. They cushion up to approximately 454kg of pressure during one hour of strenuous exercise. They provide support of up to 1,2 times our body weight while walking and 2 to 3 times that while running.

The feet are our foundation and keep us balanced. Since 25% of the body’s bones are in our feet, when they are misaligned the implications for our posture are enormous.

What your feet say about you

From a reflexology perspective, the feet can tell a tremendous amount about the state of our mental, emotional, and physical health.

A therapeutic reflexologist can look for signs of disease and pain in the different regions of the foot which have reflexes corresponding to the various organs and systems of the body.  Seldom are these wrong. So, while a reflexologist may not diagnose, they can assuredly suggest where you need to pay attention in your health concerns.

Problems which feet present are many and varied. The most common are:

  • Neuropathy – common in diabetes
  • Hammertoes
  • Bunions
  • Cracked, painful heels
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Dropped arches
  • Plantar fasciitis

These are the tip of the iceberg and all play a significant role in the rest of your body’s health and posture as when your feet are painful, we compensate when we walk, and the quality of life is seriously impacted.

Identifying the culprits

Unfortunately, it’s neglect, lack of awareness, poorly-fitting shoes (the biggest culprit), high heels, cold temperatures and in particular never walking barefoot that contribute to foot pain. Do your feet a favour, take those shoes off and go and walk on the grass. They will love you for it and the health benefits are far-reaching. Watch Earthing Movie for more information on this powerful yet free health supplement right under your toes. (Please note if you have lost sensation in your feet due to neuropathy, it’s advisable to not walk bare feet).

Addressing foot problems

Apart from visiting a podiatrist and taking up Pilates which will teach correct foot placement and how to walk properly, reflexology is a brilliant modality to assist with foot problems.

Remember that reflexology is not simply a foot massage. A properly qualified therapeutic reflexologist has tremendous knowledge of the feet, the reflexes and what they reveal and how to work these reflexes correctly and effectively.

Many health issues can be noted and assisted with reflexology. For example, bunions (those painful bumps that develop on the side of the foot under the big toe) aren’t only due to incorrect foot placement and poorly-fitting shoes but may also indicate blood glucose imbalances or thyroid pathologies.

Constant and painful, deeply cracked heels aren’t only dryness but more often than not a sign of poor gait, as well as lower back problems or issues in the reproductive organs because the heel reflex corresponds to the pelvic and lumbar area of the back. You can go for as many pedis as you like. Until your address the underlying issues, the cracked heels will persist.

Plantar fasciitis which is that horrendous pain in the sole of the foot could relate not only to badly-fitting shoes, but also to tight calf muscles or even a tight lower back. And, from a reflexology perspective, kidney issues.

Neuropathy, the diabetic patient’s nightmare is a numbness of the feet which can be lethal as often pain and injuries can’t be felt and can often lead to more serious symptoms. Reflexology will bring unnoticed injuries to your attention and will also stimulate feeling in the feet.

Awaken the reflexes

Reflexology will awaken these reflexes, bringing energy to the relevant areas encouraging healing to occur. Of course, a session is usually wrapped up with a relaxing foot and calf massage which will loosen tight calves, mobilise immobile ankles, and bring much needed love and relief to sore, tired feet. Reflexology is a many faceted bonus for the body and feet.

Let’s start spring with not only a step but a dance in our feet. Look at your feet with new eyes and thank them for how well they carry you through every moment of your life.


Fiona Hardie has recently relocated to the Western Cape and is teaching Pilates online and looking to further her offerings with Rebounding. She is also studying yoga and new modalities that will facilitate the healing that is so necessary today. She is focusing on growing her online presence and when she finds the right space she will open a Pilates and therapy studio.

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