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

987 thoughts on “The Great Unsung Hero of Anatomy

  1. Jonathan your joy emanates from this blog, it was infectious as I read. I couldn’t agree more with feet being the unsung hero, so I’ll join you in the applause and appreciation for feet, the unsung hero.

  2. Yeh the feet, what a magnificent function they perform in service to our bodies; certainly the unsung hero and certainly well worth looking after.

  3. It’s great you bring our attention to our feet, without them walking would certainly be more difficult! I go on a daily walk and one of the things I focus on is my feet – and it’s amazing what feedback they give me when I stop and feel what’s going on. Some days I feel pain, sometimes I feel the support of my shoes. It’s great to take that time – as you have in this blog – to appreciate what an amazing part of the body they are.

  4. It’s amazing how strong the belief is that we need to harden up, especially men. It just doesn’t make sense when you break it down, as we know to have a car that will last we need to look after it. We only get one body per life but we treat them like they are disposable.

  5. Our feet are very amazing. They are so sensitive and have completely different feelings in each part of the foot. I love feeling all the parts of my foot as it touches down on the floor and the way it can move. I also find when I am walking or standing, feeling my feet are my anchor to keep me with myself during the day. So I second the applause for feet!

  6. I’ve only really appreciated my feet lately as I discovered a corn on the bottom of the pad of my foot. In my daily walk, when I set aside time to really check into how I’m feeling, I was reminded of the discomfort and occasional pain I was feeling. I’ve since used some medication and while it’s still not fully back to normal, it feels so much better. So in a way I can say thank you to the little corn for bringing more attention to my feet – and of course to you too, Jonathan, for dedicating this blog to our feet.

  7. My sock game is strong – I do love decorating my feet in some great colours and styles. But what I can work on is choosing the right shoe which supports me most. I’ve been holding onto a few pairs which definitely don’t serve me.

  8. Jonathan what I love is that so many areas of our bodies truly support us. When I focus and take note on the way I am walking and how my heal touches the ground and then how I push off from the ball of my feet everything seems to change in the way I walk and move. It is easy to simply go from A to B without thinking or thinking about what will happen when we get there. But when we appreciate each step and movement it is as if the journey from A to B suddenly explodes and no longer is it about getting to B rather simply ‘B-eing’ with yourself all along the way!

  9. Just having found a great new podiatrist with a modern outlook and different answers and suggestions to what the old one had provided, I can only agree with your assessment; the professionals who support us to look after our feet are worth their weight in gold and for me, the feeling after a treatment is like walking on air, no special shoes needed at all.

  10. I find looking after my feet can be such a loving ritual for my feet after a long day, it allows me to connect to how delicate and nurturing I can be with myself, which is miles away to what I would have done years ago.

  11. Whatever I place on my feet it has to be comfortable. Where once upon a time it was all about looks and the latest style of shoes these days I find myself investing in comfort. It is well worth it and my feet appreciate it!

  12. Our feet are amazing – they transport us everywhere. When I buy shoes my priority is comfort – and always has been. These days I love to massage my feet with a beautiful cream – along with the rest of my body – whereas previously they would get perfunctory attention.

    1. I so agree Sue – “our feet are amazing” but parts of our body that really don’t get the attention they deserve. And like you shoe buying these days is all about comfort. Long gone are the days when they were squeezed into a fashionable and often uncomfortable style, with the hope that they would stretch and eventually stop hurting; that was one forlorn hope with many pairs of shoes ending up gathering dust at the back of the wardrobe. These days if the shoes don’t fit perfectly when I try them on back to the shelves they go, and I can almost feel my feet sigh with relief!

  13. Our feet are indeed amazing, as you have so wisely pointed out Jonathan and therefore worth looking after with tender loving care. Great blog, thank you.

  14. Oh I have to agree with you and your serenade of the foot…. for some time now after years of neglect, my feet get a reqular massage with cream after my shower and they love it and my feet feel so light afterwards, light and delicate.

  15. When I rub cream into my feet each day, sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the evening, it feels like they say a big thank you but it is me saying thank you to them for supporting me and doing the amazing job they do.

  16. Dear Jonathan, I love the humour in which you write. I wish you had been my teacher at school, bringing to life the different parts of the body. I’d like you to do one of these for all the major parts of our bodies that go unnoticed and unappreciated – up for it? 🙂

  17. I have very thin and delicate feet and very little pressure or tension on the feet will be magnified and the feet will feel its effect tremendously. Because there is not a lot of thickness on my feet, choosing what kind of shoes has to be meticulous and how to walk in them and for how long is an art. Recently walking in unsuitable boots for too long I have developed a corn, literally that felt so painful on the surface as well as in my heart, as the feet are so precious, no different from any part of the body really.

  18. Ah yes, the human foot…that part of our anatomy that gives us the ability to walk upon this earth and that we take for granted if both are functioning well and causing us no grief. All ‘earth walkers’ have a pair be they in the animal or human kingdom. But have we fully appreciated what our feet are doing? They are the part of our body that is making contact with the planet we walk upon and so they are the part of the body whose sole (haha) responsibility is to make sure the quality of that which we live is imprinted on the ground upon which we walk. That is, they are designed so we can ‘walk our talk’ and this they do remarkably well. Our focus needs simply to be – what is the quality of the ‘talk’ that these humble appendages are given the task to walk?

  19. Love this blog Jonathan. I was at a spa yesterday and had my feet scrubbed, rubbed and nails painted, and knowing that my feet had been properly looked after and given the same attention as my hair, makeup or skin definitely gave me a spring in my step.

  20. Love this ode to feet Jonathan and the appreciation you inspire for a part of the body that so often we take for granted until they stop us in our tracks. I have been slow to take responsibility for the environment that I expect my feet to function in – not willing to spend the time or money investing in truly supportive footwear or even walking in a way that supports them. Feeling inspired to do my own health and safety inspection particularly as I have committed to an activity this morning that will involve my feet propelling me a great distance in what are likely to be inclement conditions.

  21. Massaging cream into my feet every evening is a lovely part of my bedtime routine but making time to visit a chiropodist is something I keep putting off despite knowing how supportive this is for my feet and thus for me as I go about my everyday life. Feeling inspired to make an appointment this week and give my feet a treat thank you Jonathan.

  22. Our feet deserve more attention than they currently get, especially as they are expected to do so much for us no matter what the terrain, and after suffering with a sore toe for many years I now walk very gently and can feel the difference if I fall back into my old hard way of walking. Visiting the podiatrist is a must for me along with looking after my feet by massaging them every morning.

  23. I loved your humour in writing Jonathan, after reading your story I am inspired to take greater care of my feet even considering a visit, never before experienced, to a podiatrist, thank you.

  24. You are right Jonathan to say our feet are our unsung heroes, as they do take a pounding. I started to really look after my feet some while ago and I always make sure that at the beginning of the day and the end of the day they are nourished by putting lots of quality cream on while I massage them. I have never considered going to a chiropodist but that I guess would be the next step in the care of my feet.

  25. So funny that I should come across this today as I made a commitment to start massaging my feet! And here is your blog about the unsung hero that is our feet! Thank you for the confirmation that these areas of my body need just as much love and care as any other aspect.

  26. Yes indeed a big hand for the foot – and all the attention to detail it asks us to bring to it! I will not take my feet for granted anymore – or at least that is my intention – you have made me consider their contribution to my health in a whole different way!

  27. It seems to me that the majority of we humans tend to ignore the various and varied parts of our amazing bodies until a part breaks down and there we wonder rather curiously as to why. Could it be that this is because we were not raised to honour our body from young and to know that it is precious, every part is as important as the other and yes, if treated with little or no care, it will ‘break’.

  28. Although amusingly written the deep appreciation you have is something we can all learn from for there is no part of the body that is not exquisite in its design to support us deeply in our lives…yet often tend to ignore when we take our bodies for granted. A mistake we can only get away with for so long before our bodies remind us of their importance and wise counsel.

  29. We take the human body and every part for granted. We choose not to pay attention to all the body is doing for us 24/7. Yet, every time we connect to a part of it, we cannot but appreciate its beauty, which is also our beauty.

  30. Come to think about it there are many parts of our body and often times our body as a whole that is a great unsung hero! It’s incredible how intricate our bodies are and what they manage to deal with in terms of how we use them and what we put in to them. In my experience it is well worth developing true awareness of and appreciation for our body and the wisdom we have access to through it.

  31. What women do to their feet with the shoes we wear is incredible! If in my 20’s I had known the damage I would do to my feet with those tiny high heels I wore each day, I would like to think I would have made different choices… My feet today are a product of how I have walked for 55 years.

  32. We take so many of our body parts for granted. Paying special attention to them, be it our feet, hands etc does pay dividends. Our body loves the nurturing care we give it – if we stay present while applying cream etc.

  33. Gorgeous, Jonathan! You have a lovely, amusing writing style that’s a pleasure to read. And yes, I have to ‘hand’ it to you, your observations about our feet – these hardworking, trusty fellows, these unsung heroes of our anatomy – are spot on. They are deserving of our utmost care and attention – and appreciation for all they get put through. What’s more, they offer us a great reflection of the level of love we have for ourselves (or not) overall.

  34. Our feet are simply amazing and I love the detail and fun you have expressed in this blog Jonathan, because without our feet where would we be? Thank you

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