Short Foot Exercise for Flat Feet [Ep48]


Let me show you a simple exercise to strengthen
the arches of your feet, preparing them for the demands of running. We’re all familiar with the concept of core
strength and stability; training the abdominal, pelvic and hip muscles of the body to provide
this inherent strength to support efficient movement. But what about the concept of the ‘foot
core’? This is a term that’s been used for a while
now to describe particularly the intrinsic muscles of the foot. What do I mean by that? Well, when we look at the foot and ankle,
and consider the muscles that create and control movement in this intricate part of the body,
we can broadly divide them into two categories. Intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of the foot. Extrinsic muscles of the foot are muscles
which, due to their insertion points on bones of the foot, act on the foot itself, yet are
positioned outside of the foot, in the lower leg. Intrinsic muscles of the foot, again insert
onto bones of the foot, act upon the foot, and are this time positioned within the foot
itself. Now, generally speaking, extrinsic muscles
of the foot have much longer lever arms, and are therefore better able to create movement. In comparison, the smaller intrinsic muscles
of the foot, with their shorter lever arms are considered more responsible for creating
stability around the many intricate bones and joints of the foot, and help us to maintain
the structure of the foot itself. It’s these intrinsic muscles of the foot
that we’re training with exercises such as the short foot exercise. So this exercise is really simple, but takes
a bit of getting used to, to get the co-ordination right. We use this exercise to help train the plantar
intrinsic muscles of the foot that in effect help support the medial arch of the foot,
an area we perhaps overly rely on footwear to support. Start sitting with your foot flat on the ground.
From this position, use the visualisation of shortening the length of your foot by lifting
the arch. Feel yourself consciously trying to lift the arch of your foot by squeezing
the muscles in the foot. The movement will only be small, and make
sure you don’t begin to claw your toes, or overly rotate the lower leg. We’re looking
to isolate the foot in this exercise, in particular a muscle called abductor hallucis. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps of this simple looking,
but often challenging exercise, on each foot. Once you get good at this you can graduate
to practicing with the foot bearing more bodyweight, standing-up. This short foot exercise is particularly good
for those who are transitioning away from running shoes which offer more stability,
like an Brooks Adrenaline, or Asics Kayano for example, into something more minimalist,
like a Nike Free. This is a process I’m asked about all the
time! Let me know how you get on in the comments. Speak to you soon. Bye now

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