Our poor feet often experience cruel and unusual punishment. We stuff our feet in stylish shoes that fit us poorly for the sake of looking good; we run around all day on our feet and forget about them until they start to hurt. All of a sudden, one day you notice a bump developing on the joint of your big toe. Then you realize that you have been feeling little aches and pains in your feet that have been coming and going for the last few months. You also realize that your other four toes are crammed into “shoe” position even when barefoot, while your ankles stabilize for dear life, even when you’re standing still.

What is going on? Beneath the skin many of the 26 bones in each foot are being wedged together, leaving the muscles cramped and the connective tissue locked tight. You have not been giving your feet enough love! By love, we mean attention. Feet need quality attention throughout a lifetime to keep them balanced, flexible, and strong.

Here are five tips on how to give your feet some love and create a solid foundation for your body:

1. Wear shoes that fit well and give you the support you need. When trying on shoes take some time to feel how your new shoe translates energy from your foot, to your knees, and even to your pelvis. If they don’t feel great in movement and standing then continue on with your search…

2. Walk around bare foot or with clogs whenever you get the chance. This will give your feet, and especially your toes, the opportunity to spread out and root into the ground, the way nature intended.

3. Get a foot massage, reflexology treatment, or just use a tennis ball to loosen up the fascia on the bottom of your feet. If you do it yourself remember to go slow and allow the ball to sink into your tissue.

4. Exercise! Working out a couple times a week with an organized exercise program will keep you feeling strong and prepared for the brutal postural battle of the work week. Full body balance will translate into happier feet, and vice versa.

5. Pay attention to your posture. Having your body aligned over your feet in a structurally balanced manner will spread your body’s weight through the entire foot and allow it to do what it’s designed to do, whether standing or walking.

Raise your awareness to how your feet feel! Your whole body will benefit.