This is something that a lot of people seem to overlook. When we train martial arts, we really put our feet through their paces. Often training in bare feet on a hard surface, routinely shifting our entire weight plus the acceleration and braking of a kick passing through a small area of one foot. Landing from a jumping kick, or kicking pads, fellow students, or hard objects like breaking boards. We pay a lot of attention to training the strength of our muscles, to perfecting our techniques, but our poor feet silently endure the huge forces of us pushing ourselves to our limits, often completely taken for granted.
I'm one of those people that used to take my feet for granted. That is until arthritis was confirmed in one foot, suspected in the other. Almost certainly not exclusively from training I should say. My feet have been through a lot and taken many injuries throughout my life. But I also have a number of classic 'overuse injuries', namely tendonitis and a bruised bone that is taking a very long time to settle.
What I realise now is that to stop training would be foolish. It would equate to failure. But it would be even more foolish to continue to train the way I have been training. The goal is to become more able, not to prove how much self abuse one can endure. Which leaves only one option. To train, but to include in the self development plan some kind of regime to look after my feet. Low impact strengthening and stretching seems in order. Massage perhaps. Maybe liberal use of tiger balm. Maybe some change to diet or nutrition.
I have two aims in writing this post. Firstly, I hope that instructors and students alike might give a bit more thought to repetitive injury prevention. And secondly, I'm wondering if anyone has any tips for restoring worn out feet. Thanks for reading.