- Posted by Christine
- On December 2, 2016
Our poor feet! Many of us take our feet for granted, until there is a problem with them. Putting them in high heels, walking for miles on them, shoving them into shoes! There are many products out there to help feet: over priced cushiony running shoes, orthotics and gel inserts to name a few. It’s confusing as to what is the best for foot strength and health. This article will break down why foot strengthening is important and the how it can be accomplished.
Feet are our shock eliminators, our weight supporting structures and our primary locomotion tools. In our feet we have intrinsic muscles (originate and end on the foot structures) and extrinsic muscles (originate on the leg and cross the ankle joint). In North America, our feet are lazy! We throw on these nice supportive, extra cushioned shoes or orthotics, and our muscles get to chill out in a comfy cocoon all day long. By supporting and coddling our feet muscles we don’t give them a chance to be used. Overtime, this disuse leads to atrophy and shrinking of the muscles. We need to spend time waking these muscles back up and re-creating normal function.
Have you have had plantar fasciitis or achilles tendinitis or shin splints? If so, you require these exercises the most! If our shock absorbers (intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of the foot) are not functioning well, many of our other structures in our lower limb will be overworked and eventually start to fail and give you pain.
In addition, strong feet lead to improved power, speed and balance! So, maybe you haven’t had a problem or pain, but who wouldn’t want to be faster and more powerful? There are many articles that have indicated that toe flexor strength and toe grip force training leads to significant changes in walking speed, vertical jump distance and improved dynamic balance.
Okay, okay, we know it’s important, so how do we go about strengthening our feet?
- Short Foot Exercise:
- In a standing or seated position, spread your toes and think about your foot being firmly on the ground
- Draw the knuckle of your big toe toward you heel, don’t let your big toe or your heel come off the ground. Ensure that your toes are not simply curling, they should be flat on the ground as you complete this small movement.
- Hold for ten seconds and repeat 8-10 reps
Watch this video if you are a visual person like me:
- Toe crunches:
- Have your feet on the ground, with a towel underneath them. Spread your toes out as far as you can, then crunch the towel with your toes.
- Preform for 30 seconds, and repeat 3 times
- Toe Coordination
- Standing upright, try to lift your big toe without lifting the other toes
- Then try keeping your big toe on the ground while only lifting the other 4 toes
- Do 10 reps of a and b, then repeat for 2 sets
What are you waiting for? Start your foot workout now!