The great thinker Costanza once referred to the big toe as the "captain of the toes". If it should fall, then the rest of the platoon will most surely follow. Now you may think that a now 20-year-old Seinfeld reference is a strange way to start off a post that discusses a serious notion. However, I think George was onto something important that I want to dive into a bit. It is all about the importance of a firm foundation, solid brick and mortar. If a structure is built on soft earth or shifting sand, it is sure to come crashing down. If it is constructed with poor workmanship, it will not remain. If cracks and fissures are not attended to as soon as they appear, they will ultimately develop into weaknesses upon which the collapse will be centered.
To align my illustration with the great Costanza, I want to focus on the feet, and in particular, on the captain of the toes. Recently I developed an in-grown toenail on my captain. I tried to ignore it for a while, but this soon led to hobbling and limping and gimping about. Soon I developed pain in my knees and my back. This lead to fatigue and irritability and headaches. One small problem in one toe, left unattended, led to my entire body feeling pain and a noticeably surly demeanor.
The toes and the feet provide the body with a firm foundation, but they must be cared for and attention must be paid to ensure that any problems that spring up are dealt with in a timely manner. It may even be that some short term pain is required to ensure longer-term health and vitality, such as my having to go see a podiatrist with had to stick me with multiple needles and snip at my foot with a pair of shears to bring me back to right. Of course, this post isn't really all about my toe problem, but hopefully you get the point.