A world of potential for movement resides in our feet, yet how much are we really using?

Let’s check in: Remove your shoes and take a quick walk around the room. While walking, notice which part of your foot lands and where you feel pressure/feedback from the ground. Your heel? Ball of the foot? How about the toes? Great, that’s 3 spots!

Now try lifting just your big toe, leaving all the little toes on the ground. This big toe extension movement you are attempting is governed by a tendon called the Extensor Hallucis Longus. Now settle that big toe down and try lifting all the little toes ruled by the extensor digitorum longus tendons. How’s that motor-control working for ya?  Can you see the strappy tendons popping up underneath the skin as you attempt these movements? Given that we wear protective coverings (ahem, shoes) all our lives, we have lost a great amount of innate toe dexterity and connection with the extensor hallucis longus & extensor digitorum longus tendons. But we CAN reclaim a remarkable amount, simply read on!

Christina Broome Feet YTU Ball

Rolling your feet with YTU Therapy Balls can do wonders to help revive your soles.

Grab your grippy/pliable/and oh so useful Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls and watch the video below while we continue on with our point below… Who says multi-tasking is inefficient?

Stiletto Treatment: YTU Therapy Ball Rolling Video

While you are rolling away, consider the following: we have around 200 bones in our body and approximately 25% of all bones & muscles in our body reside BELOW the ankle. Years of “protecting” our feet have decreased their proprioceptive abilities and some biomechanists have found evidence that this protection may contribute to bone density decrease, nerve damage and even musculoskeletal diseases*

Go easy and light while rolling out your feet. You are stimulating nerve endings, skin cells, fascial tissues and muscle layers to increase your ability to feel with your feet. Re-introducing friction and slide/glide to your lovely feet is the first part in getting an awareness of your feet… and whether they are actually walking for you or your shoes are doing all the walking.

Come back later this week for part DEUX on the feet which will include VITAL stretches to lengthen calf and leg muscles. A MUST for your lower body health!

(*source: Katy Bowman’s “Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief”)


Enjoyed this article? Read Are You A Quad Walker?


Christina Broome

For years, movement has interspersed my life with health, joy and adventure. By teaching mindful movement classes my hope is that others will share in the joy of movement and awaken to their own abundant level of fitness. Registered Yoga Teacher- 200 hour level. Certified in Nutrition & Fitness, San Diego Mesa College. Certified Yoga Tune Up® teacher. Certified in Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball training. Completed Yoga Tune Up® Shoulder Immersion.

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Ella Maghen

I live with extended toes! This rolling technique and body mapping helped me understand how to activate the extensors.

Christina Klein

Such an great reminder to simply be barefoot and wear shoes less. It is amazing how many bones we lock in a tiny foot coffin and forget to use. I notice this especially when I run on the beach primarily in soft sand. All of the intrinsic muscles of the feet feel so good after that.


I always think of shoes as little coffins for the feet. And while they may be necessary in our world they do deaden the sensation that the feet absorb from the floor and their ability to move. I was once told that we want our feet to be as mobile and dextrous as our hands and fingers. And not just the big toe but all of the toes as well as all other areas of the foot. Rolling the feet is a way I treat myself for all the abuse I put them through everyday. It is also a reminder… Read more »

Ashley Burger

This is a great tool for my dancers. I often make them work barefoot to improve their grounding and proprioception. Many of us loose our motor control to be able to untangle these movements and this is a good reminder to reawaken them!


Thank you for this article Christina. It is so important to bring more awareness to our feet. The reasons are plenty: they carry us all day long, 25% of all bones and muscle reside below the ankle and the soles of our feet are a reflection of our entire body (I am referring to feet reflexology). Therefore, it is important to be gently when rolling them out. A quick question. I notice that there are a lot of videos and massage tips focusing on the soles of our feet. Do you have any suggestions for rolling out the sides and… Read more »


I loved reading this, since I work incredible amounts of hours in construction boots, getting home to my Therapy Balls sends me right to heaven! I enjoy rolling on my feet just before going to bed, I think it’s so refreshing and just enough to feel ready to hit another amazing day when I wake up in the morning!

Peter Southall

Thanks for offering up some info on a matter I would have otherwise not given much thought to

Tracy Wagner

Thanks for sharing this wonderful foot massage it really does make a difference. We often forget about are feet and how important they really are to us.