This Foot Care Question was just submitted to me by Nicole, and I thought perhaps there are others out there searching for answers on how to alleviate foot problems and curious to know if exercise might help.
Here's the Question:
“I have some problems with my feet. Hyper mobile forefoot and hypo mobile mid-foot with some posterior tibular tendonitis.”
“I was wondering if there are foot care exercises I could do to help?”
And the Answer...
Thanks for your question about exercises for your feet. It is impossible for me to give you specific exercises that I think would be beneficial without actually having a chance to see you, work with you, and evaluate your feet.
Based on your comments about the problem, I do have some thoughts about what I would look for, and I am confident that yes, there probably are some specific foot fitness exercises that you could do to help improve your feet.
I suspect that something in the hind-foot, or ankle might be locked up. (This potentially could be related to an issue at the knee, hip, or pelvis, or could just be a stuck ankle.) From a Pilates perspective, we’re always looking at the whole body and how things inter-relate. Sometimes this can be corrected with the right exercises, other times a manipulation by a kinesiologist, chiropractor, or osteopathic physician can get things moving again quickly, and then the right exercises can help reinforce new muscle habits to keep things working properly.
If any joints are hyper mobile, the muscles that move them, may not be strong enough, or understand how to work correctly to move the bones. Somewhere farther up the chain, the body gets a message to “hold on tighter for support.” The problem is that over time, this message never shuts off and the body accepts how it’s moving as the correct pattern. Opening all the joints of the foot and ankle, and improving the strength of your fore foot, arches, and toes, might just provide the support needed to help facilitate more correct movement through the entire foot.
Your alignment for walking and running, and how the body and legs move from the hips are also a factor in how the muscles of the feet fire to propel you through space. Incorrect firing patterns through the whole leg with every step you take, only continue to reinforce problems and may be a reason for the aggravation of posterior tibular tendonitis, as well as the hyper/hypo foot issues.
The exercises in my book Fantastic Feet! I have taught to LOTS of people with a variety of foot issues with great success! The Yamuna Foot Savers, and Circulator Foot Reflexology Mat are also great tools for improving alignment and muscle use. You can find all of these helpful foot-care products at http://www.centerworks.com/store/category/foot-care-products/
Since you know you have diagnosed problems, I would recommend showing the exercises in the book Fantastic Feet! to your foot doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, or kinesiologist, and have them assist you with selecting the most appropriate exercises for you to start with. Always best to refer to an expert! If there are any Pilates Studios near you, I’d also recommend checking into a few lessons to have your posture and movement habits evaluated from a whole-body perspective.
Our feet are not supposed to hurt. And while rest is sometimes the appropriate answer (it can be difficult to stay off your feet!) Utilizing the right exercises to keep your feet both strong and flexible can assist in alleviating foot pain and foot problems.
Aliesa George is the founder of Centerworks® Pilates. She is an author, workshop presenter, and mind-body health expert with more than 25 years of experience designing solutions for health improvement. Aliesa has created a wide variety of products focused on Pilates, Foot Fitness, the Mind-Body Connection, Stress-Management, and Whole-Body Health. She enjoys helping others discover the connection between thought and action to get positive results and achieve goals for a healthy mind, body and spirit!
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