I popped a disc in my back last week. I was lifting a tree trunk I had just cut down so that I could get to it to cut it into smaller pieces. I obviously lifted it wrong. Fortunately, I didn’t pop my back too badly, as I was able to slowly, veeeerrrrryyy slowly, straighten up and get the disc to re-seat itself. However, the muscles around there also continued (and still continue) to complain about the incident. And that means that bending over is a dangerous proposition. I can still bend over, but it’s a slow and laborious process.
I bet you can guess what my solution is . . .
As long as I can get upright, and then stay upright, I’m pretty much OK. That means that I was able to play tennis a few evenings ago, as I usually do. But at one point I needed to pick up my tennis racquet from the ground.
Now, my fellow tennis players are quite used to seeing me play tennis barefoot. But my method for picking up my racquet really rather impressed them. No barefooter will be surprised to hear I picked it up with my toes. I wasn’t that hard. When feet aren’t encased in shoes they can obviously be used prehensily. And when they aren’t encased in shoes all of the time, feet get the practice they need so that they are actually pretty useful prehensily.
Playing tennis barefoot also means that picking up balls without bending over is a bit different. Most tennis players, when they do that, will use their racquet to press the ball against the side of their foot. They can do that because their shoe has a wide, flat portion at their instep. On a natural foot, that is just smooth curve.
So, when barefoot your feet get used prehensily, and without even thinking about it, you automatically use the flat part on the ball of your foot, and get a bit of toe-action help.
I’m showing the lefty version here, since the shutter button on my camera is right-handed. I needed my right hand for the shutter and thus needed to use my left to hold the racquet.
Anyways, I’ve shown the prehensile use of the feet specifically for tennis, but they work quite well, with a bit of practice, in all sorts of other situations.
And yes, my back is slowly getting better. Thank you for asking.