Foot and Ankle
A lot can go wrong with your feet. Plantar fasciitis. Bad shoes. Fallen Arches. Sprained ankles. And the health of your feet can impact other joints. This section guides you through a good shoe selection, whether expensive orthotics are really needed and whether if a simple piece of tape can solve several ailments among other topics
Guide to Improved Foot and Ankle Function
We protect our feet much more than we need. This is creating issues like weakness and lack of feel of HOW to use our feet. Do not let the shoe industry or shoe sales people convince you what is best for you, get stronger and land more centered on your feet. You will be amazed at how alive the feet become WHEN WE USE THEM WITHOUT SO MUCH SUPPORT!
Foot Taps are one of easiest of all the exercises I teach. The ankle is a really important structure and if it becomes stiff or limited in movement, plantar fasciitis, toe pain and knee pain can result. When you repeat this simple exercise throughout the day you will gain a greater ability to walk with more balance.
Shoe selection is much more complicated than it needs to be! The shoe industry is a major player in convincing you they know best. It doesn’t! The stronger your feet become and the better you know how to move and land centered over your feet YOU will want less support because support is built into the feet. That’s why orthotics can create more problems in the long run. A natural orthotic was built into your foot when you were born. Not using the foot sets you up for the need to “brace” or “support” the arches of the feet. This in turn will cause you to have weaker feet and more problems over time. What I am suggesting is not a quick fix. Getting your feet healthy is SO satisfying because they will be stronger not weaker as you age.
Tape the feet in place of orthotic. Often with plantar fasciitis or foot pain relief comes with the help of a simple tapping method I show in the video. This allows your foot to continue to work and get strong but can relieve the stress that is creating the pain.
The big focus that has to be addressed is HOW ARE YOU LANDING ON YOUR FOOT WHEN YOU WALK OR RUN? The main issue I see for most people is the lack of centering of the hips over the ankles so that the foot can land properly. Often this is due to the lack of connection between the different parts of the body to make one fluid movement when walking or running.
The three main Balance Posture exercises for healthy feet and ankles are Butt Up the Wall, Bend and Balance and Stomping the Grapes.
Butt Up The Wall is one of my main “go tos’ for movement. It helps you load the foot more in the heel and not in the forefoot when standing and bending. It’s also the move that teaches you how to bend, so use the butt up the wall principle in your daily life ANYTIME you need to bend. After awhile you will feel less forefoot pressure and less tightness in the back of the legs.
Bend and Balance is learning to stand on one foot and leg VERY centered. Since the body is a connecting chain of movements, the WAY you balance on one leg is critical in how the feet are loaded. This Balance Posture is a “workout” if you do it right. You want to feel loaded in the buttock and back of the leg you are standing on. Again keep the weight out of the forefoot!
Stomping The Grapes is one of the best foot strengthen exercise you will find. You need to use your imagination a little. So with toes up and body centered over your hips you are going to play like you are stopping grapes! You will add a little “shuffle” so that you can move around your house while you do this drill. It will wear your feet and legs out (in a good way!) When you stop doing the drill and walk a few feet you will be amazed how much better your walk is and you don’t have to THINK about your walk, it’s just THERE feeling very balanced and easy.
These Balance Postures will help bring more strength and flexibility to your hips, hamstrings and feet. You can also go to the Running and Walking Videos to get more tips on how to help with your foot and ankle issues. Remember the Foundational Videos are the place to start. Don't forget to have fun!