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Your Best Foot Forward

Mar 30, 2018

Your Best Foot Forward

As winter gives way to spring, many people will find themselves exercising outdoors more and more. Spring is the perfect time to engage in activities such as running, tennis, football, baseball, frisbee, hiking, and other outdoor activities. The number one problem I begin to see when spring rolls around is lower-leg injuries, especially those involving the foot and ankle itself.

Poor coordination of the feet is often the root cause of lower-leg injuries. There are two main reasons for this: The neuromuscular pathway from the brain to the feet is the longest in the body, making for slow and inefficient coordination, and the small amount of muscle in the feet makes it difficult for the brain to coordinate proprioception (sensory stimulation) and balance.

There are 26 bones that make up the foot and ankle, as well as dozens of joint and tendons that separate and move each bone. A weakened structure in one area of the foot or ankle means all other tissues in the immediate area have to make up for that imbalance. Then begins the slow downward cycle of compensation from other areas of the foot and wear and tear that can lead to all sorts of nightmare injuries.

By challenging the feet, a person can create clearer neuromuscular pathways to the brain and therefore help prevent future injuries. The following list of drills will take only three minutes and should be completed after the warm-up before engaging in activity. Incorporating these exercises into your workouts will keep your lower logs injury free. They should be completed in bare feet.

  1. Invert: Walk on the outside of your foot.
  2. Evert: Walk on the inside of your foot
  3. Adduct: Walk pigeon-toed, or with your toes pointing in.
  4. Charlie Chaplin: Walk with your toes pointing out.
  5. High Heels: Walk backward on your toes.
  6. Heels: Walk on your heels- do this one with shoes on to prevent bone bruising.

Article Written By:

Josh Haney M.S. Exercise Science, Certified Personal Trainer

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