Did you know that your feet need the ability to transition smoothly between being flexible and rigid in order to function in a healthy way?
It’s true …
A balance of strength and mobility are essential!
When you use orthotics or have shoes with serious arch support in an attempt to correct over-pronation or flat feet, this type of inflexible footwear can actually lead to a whole host of other problems because the foot is not able to move as it was intended.
As the foot adapts to rigid footwear, the joints within the foot become stiff and the intrinsic muscles become weak. Now, we can start to see changes in movement all the way up the chain to the knee, hip, back and beyond – all which may eventually lead to pain and dysfunctional movement. Not good.
However, it is possible to reverse or prevent some of these changes with a little work and persistence. The photo to the right shows a self-mobilization technique for improving the spiraling motion of the foot.
Give it a try …
- Sit down, cross one leg over your thigh so you are able to hold your foot. (If this position is difficult to get into, maybe you can enlist the help of a partner.)
- Cup the heel with one hand and place the other hand around the top of the foot near the base of the toes.
- Use a GENTLE twisting motion to move the heel and forefoot GENTLY in opposite directions.
- Do not force any movement.
- Hold for a few seconds and then twist the other direction – repeat a few times on the same foot and then move on to the other foot.
In addition to mobility, keep your feet healthy with arch strengthening, too:
Practice scrunching up a towel using your toes. Keep your heels down and pull the towel towards your heels with your toes, feel your arch lifting.
These are just a couple of simple tips that can benefit almost everyone. If you have orthotics or are used to rigid shoes, keep wearing them and gradually start to transition to less support as your feet become stronger and more flexible – change takes time, be patient and ease into it!
Get in touch with any questions or just to say hi!