The Great Unsung Hero of Anatomy

The bodies that we occupy during this life – ‘our’ bodies – have many different parts in order for us to deal with a multitude of activities that are presented to us every day. Some of these parts, such as eyes and ears, are so important that most of us simply cannot imagine life without them.

Our hands are used not only to skilfully craft all manner of items, but also to welcome others when we meet, and in addition to express ourselves.

Our legs propel us around the planet, and if we are female are considered to be a great source of beauty and elegance, something borne out by countless advertisements for tights and stockings.

However, there is one area of our bodies that in my opinion, doesn’t get the acclaim and recognition that it deserves.

This particular body component is extremely hard-working, though not terribly glamorous.

It supports us whatever we do and wherever we go.

It spends hours covered up in the dark, and for most of the time does not utter a single protest as it goes about its daily toil.

It is important enough to have a unit of measurement named after itself, but seldom features in any major film role or advertisement, and it only seems to get our attention when finally it has had enough and breaks down!

Yes… you’ve guessed; I’m talking about the human foot.

We just seem to take it for granted! Don’t we?

I was quite a keen middle-distance runner when I was young, an interest which started while I was still at school and which was fuelled by my desire to escape the self-importance of that organisation – to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding countryside while keeping up enough pace to constantly change the scenery.

Sometimes, during lessons, we would all be summoned for a ‘foot inspection’.

Looking back, those nurses must have had extremely robust constitutions!

They must also have had special training in self-desensitising, in order to be able to cope with the onslaught of thirty or more pairs of naked, perspiring and generally uncared-for, young male feet!

Anyone who was identified with a fungal infection was prescribed the appropriate cream and we all trooped off back to our lesson.

Plimsols were the universally accepted footwear for running at school, but looking back they seem so totally inadequate, with their flat soles and lack of support.

When I discovered ‘trainers‘ in the nineteen seventies it was akin to a ‘religious’ experience.

Here was a running shoe that embraced, caressed and supported your feet while you put ‘miles on the clock’. My first pair were called ‘Air’, and they were literally like running on air.

At this time I worked at a TV station in Central London adjacent to Regent’s Park and lunchtimes would find me frequently bounding around its semi-rural perimeter with other enthusiasts from work, always trying to put on an impressive display for the captive audience of sandwich-munchers perched upon their park benches.

When I was first introduced to Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon, I learnt about the importance of self-love and the basic ideas regarding the importance of eating the right food for our bodies and sleeping at the right times.

Also, the importance of generally looking after one’s body and not subjecting it to anything too harsh that could be described as abuse.

Years earlier I had often pushed myself too hard in the mistaken belief that it was necessary for the body to harden up and cope with the rigours of life. I remember spending hours operating a Kango hammer, digging up a stone-covered patio in order to create a new flowerbed. As a result of this abuse, a large lump appeared on my hand, which then had to be removed by surgery… (the lump that is!).

At that time, I had a job in Television and therefore had ‘soft hands’, which were not ideal for the volume of self-imposed weekend DIY that I was then undertaking. I had been trying to ‘harden myself up’ to compensate for this.

I was still running when I was in my mid to late thirties, and as the pain started to develop I had taught myself just to ignore it and run ‘through it’. It all came to a halt when I had to go and see the physio with a knee problem.

After that, I barely ran at all.

Walking really came into its own after that, along with basic foot maintenance!

One particular group of health-workers, who are hugely under-valued in my view, is Chiropodists.

Really good Chiropodists are worth their weight in gold in my opinion.

Now my feet have got a few miles on the clock, I often only realise that a visit is long overdue when I have to start modifying my walk to compensate for some corns or dead skin, situated in a crucial point of contact between my foot and where it touches down.

After a recent visit to my favourite local chiropodist, I came away with a pair of ‘completely new feet ‘.

At least that’s what it felt like.

I felt years younger, and as I walked away from her treatment room it was all I could do to restrain myself from breaking into a mild trot!

The anatomy of the foot is far from simple. There are twenty-eight tiny bones among the muscles and flesh that make up this dazzlingly versatile organ.

The job it was designed to do is hard and varied and often in temperatures and cramped environments that today’s health and safety brigade would quite simply not allow us humans to endure!

My wife is always telling me that I have rather fine and delicate feet, and I must add that I would never have admitted that publicly years ago, being… “hardly the way chaps were supposed to talk about themselves”… then.

But now being committed to self-love means loving my feet in whatever form they present themselves.

So, if they are fine and delicate, then so be it!!

The foot, I feel, is the great unsung hero of anatomy.

At the very least it deserves a great big round of applause and at the very most a whole lot of tender loving care!

So let’s hear it!

A Big Hand Please for …….. The Foot! …….. Yeah!

By Jonathan Cooke, France

Related Reading:
From Low Self‐Esteem to True Self‐Care: What My Feet Reflected to Me
Intermittent Catheterisation – The Unlikely Link between the Anatomy of my Vagina and Starting to Love my Body
Body Awareness Exercise

1,046 thoughts on “The Great Unsung Hero of Anatomy

  1. What a delightful blog Jonathan, it is so true we do not give this part of our body much time. Gosh how our bodies are marvellous yet we very rarely give them the respect they deserve.

  2. I love to study the feet. I always observe all people passing by in my day how they put their feet, how they walk, if they stand more on the left one or the right one and how the body compensates to find a new balance.
    Which is very interesting itself. The way we compensate our body posture if we make the first step not true to ourselves. This way we also live life. We make a step that doesn’t feel right and then we built another, even more, not true next step on top of it.
    The first step we walk with our great friends are the foundation for the next movement in our day.

    1. I too enjoy watching the way people walk. Thanks for the reminder that each step we take is a foundation for the next one, so each step is very important. Are we walking in a rush or holding tension? Are our feet comfortable in the shoes we are wearing? There is a lot to consider in the way we care for ourselves and our feet.

  3. I had occasion recently to be more aware of my feet than usual when I spent a few weeks working in a job where I was required to stand for several hours a day. In the past I would have just turned up for work unaware of the need to support my feet, as well as my body, and then put up with the discomfort. This time though I considered how to support my feet every morning as I got ready and then regularly during the day bringing my awareness to how I was standing and moving. What a difference putting my feet first in my life made as to how they felt at the end of the day.

  4. I have often mused on what people put on their feet! Women that are slaves to fashion are on the top of the list for the things they do to their feet. Real high stilettos, flat shoes and knee high boots with tall heels. The body’s connective tissue must be constantly screaming to the torture the feet are put under with every step. All of this in the name of fashion, at what cost to the body?

  5. I think in general our whole body is an unsung hero! It’s amazing the intelligence of our whole body – how it always works to bring back harmony and all the intricacies and delicate nature of it’s inter-connectedness.

  6. The feet are so far away from the head that it can escape our attention until it calls for it. Quite a humbling lesson for the self-obsessed mind to realize that it doesn´t go anywhere without the feet carrying us there.

  7. We take our body for granted. Yet, we only realize what it does for us either when it breaks down and life becomes disrupted or when we stop and appreciate it for what it does for us. These options reflect two very different patterns of movements.

  8. Feet are indeed amazing and reveal much about our way of life, both this one and previous ones, so taking care of them is vitally important for they are what we touch and leave a mark on planet earth with, which will have an effect on everybody.

  9. Our feet do an amazing job of supporting us through life. It is important therefore that we care for them and one of the things that I enjoy doing is putting moisturising cream on my feet, because let’s face it they work hard.

  10. Our feet are such a marker for the way we express in life, for the times we walk life with a certain heaviness and contraction hiding our light our feet will let us know. The more I commit to walking me in my fullness the more I feel the difference in my feet as they feel lighter and fuller- a true joy to feel.

  11. We think it is normal to abuse the body in any way, shape or form and we don’t give it a second thought to look at how we can look after our body as we go about life except perhaps if we want to lose weight by exercising or eating what we would call healthy but both these examples although a good start are not truly taking care for the body but for self gain and aestheticism.

  12. It was hard to put shoes back on to go to work in September having spent most of my summer break in flip flops or comfy open toe sandals. My quest to find comfy but stylish looking shoes continues. I found a lovely pair of boots that fit the bill just last week and I have been wearing them every day at work since.

  13. Having had foot problems for many years I have to take extra care and attention into making sure my shoes are super comfortable, I also recently found a new Podiatrist who is a very committed and passionate about her work, her understanding of my feet and how to support them better was very inspiring indeed.

  14. it is, as with so many things in the average humans life, not until something goes wrong to we truly appreciate how everything works together so amazingly. Every part of us has to be appreciated and nurtured… Especially our feet! ☺

  15. I love Jonathon how your blog beautifully highlights the importance of appreciation and that every fine detail of our body works together to seamlessly express and feel the world around us always.

  16. Summer is always an interesting time to observe the feet as they are allowed to come out of the dark and sit in the sunshine. You can see the care or the lack of care of how people has treated their feet. Our feet are an equal part of the body and I thank you Jonathon asking our attention and appreciation of this part we cannot miss.

  17. Dear Jonathan, this should be in an Anatomy book. If our entire body was described like this and we would learn about it this way I am sure we all would have not only a different understanding of its magnitude but would treat it with much more care and gratitude.

  18. This is gold Jonathan, I love the humour you have expressed in. You have taken appreciation of the foot to a new level. I stand with you giving a big hand for the unsung hero- the foot.

  19. Thank you Jonathan for this quite humorous but true look at one’s feet. While reading I remember one movie that was dedicated to a man’s foot the movie was caller ” my left foot ” . The movie won a few oscars but sadly the foot was not awarded one.

  20. I always enjoy reading this blog about feet and totally agree they are unsung heroes with what they go through and how they are treated. More and more I am appreciating my feet and try my best to get suitable footwear that does not compromise my feet – it’s not that easy.

  21. Jonathan, it is a joy to re-vist this blog again – the playfulness and humour in which you write, is a beautiful healing in itself. I am still chuckling about the ‘air’ shoes and ‘sandwich munchers’ in the park and loving the awareness and appreciation you are bringing to feet.

  22. Ha! Awesome to bring attention to the old feet that like you say are completely forgotten. We just expect them to do their job on demand at any given moment. A great opportunity to be aware of what we take for granted.

  23. Recently I have been having regular Esoteric Massage sessions and oh my how I love my feet and legs being massaged. This super powerful healing modality has allowed me to clear so much stuck stagnant energy that was hanging around my feet. I have never walked better!

  24. What we tend not to do when we are walking, running, jumping and everything else we do on our feet, is to feel them touching the ground as we do, to know the beauty of this connection with our planet. In my experience, this completely changes how we walk, and introduces a tenderness in how we place our feet. Such a choice is generally not considered due to the need for speed in today’s society, but could taking an extra millisecond per step reduce so many foot problems, due the the lightness one chooses in being tender?

  25. The anatomy of our feet is very interesting, we have so many bones in it to give it a huge range of movement, the ability to be flexible and to adjust to the terrain on which we are walking. Does this not offer us a moment to reflect that in our very own bodies we have such anatomical wonders? Another is our spine. Could the flexibility that their structure allows be a physical reality that directly correlates to the true flexibility we have in how we live in our lives?

  26. Foot care is so underrated, they are literally carrying us around all day and they are so often just treated like they do not exist. I am a huge advocate for foot doctors, foot creams and supportive shoes! Of course, I love my fashion shoes too but as long as you give them the love and care they deserve they tend to be less sore and more capable.

  27. Feet don’t often get a mention but they keep us balanced all day! I abused my feet for years as I didn’t wear shoes much and had thick skin to prove it. But I couldn’t bring myself to wear shoes that hurt my feet, I wanted freedom to move without restriction and though I love heels I’m not so practised in wearing them so wear them seldomly. Now I’m walking I do pay attention to how they land and lift off the ground. It can feel wonderful feeling so connected with them and how I step.

  28. A timely read for me this morning, as recently I committed to making space for pampering my feet and being more caring and loving with them, I have also been buying shoes that are more supportive and that don’t compromise my feet in anyway.

  29. Feet offer us a history of our life and previous lives and how we have lived. I’ve often felt that when I have a foot massage I am massaging the whole body. Reading your blog again Jonathan has reminded me how much I enjoy a foot massage.

    1. I once had handmade beautiful shoes that looked very elegant. Unfortunately they were made a size too small and I still wonder why I kept them so long. They hurt.

    2. I am very often astounded how women force themselves into shoes having the main focus on how it looks like, instead of how it feels like. When we are not standing in comfortable, supporting shoes we compromise our posture and power- how high is the price for just good looking fitting shoes?

  30. Thank you Jonathan I have always actually appreciated my feet as I was also a good runner and walker. I would always marvel and be proud of how they could run, dance, walk and I have always loved the shape and finesse of my feet. Working as a Physiotherapist I have always be fascinated by the biomechanics of the feet also. I still make sure every day when I have a shower I give both my feet special attention and really connect with them and how lovely they are. It feels important to really stop, connect and appreciate our bodies.

  31. Feet are amazing and having foot problems is becoming endemic with the obesity epidemic. I wonder how much worse it will get?

  32. Feet should be indeed much more appreciated!!They are our foundation, where we stand on and walk from. Interesting, we don´t bring so much attention to them, although they are essential….

  33. Connecting to my feet and my walk during the day changed my life! No joke, it gives me a stability through conscious presence. After I had a walking therapy session with Serge Benhayon I totally changed how I walk. What if how we walk either cements disempowerment, doubt, etc etc or power, authority, appreciation etc etc ..readjusting my walk does confirm my power now everyday. Did you ever count your footsteps during the day? If yes, you might understand why the true walk is super important.

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