Seriously your feet touch the ground whenever standing, not to mention all the other impacts we impose on those two little guys. Walking, running, jumping and wearing the not so perfect shoes (Yes ladies that directed at us).
Our feet are much more than how we walk around they are the foundation of our bodies. As well as the foundation of most athletic activities. That means if we work to keep them healthy we can help keep you healthy and moving.
We spend much of our lives taking our feet for granted - if we are lucky. If we're not, we suffer one or more of the painful, often debilitating conditions that can affect the feet. That's why your feet are so important and why you need to take care of them.
The foot is a complex structure of 26 bones (One-quarter of the bones in the human body) 33 joints, and is layered with an intertwining web of more than 120 muscles, ligaments, and nerves. The arches enable the foot to support the weight of the body, provide an ideal distribution of body weight over the hard and soft tissues of the foot, and provide leverage when walking. They yield as weight is applied and spring back when weight is lifted, helping to absorb shock.
Pain in the foot indicates that there may be something wrong with either the interaction of internal structures of the foot or with the how the foot is interacting with external influences. Many times correction in the feet help with knee, hip, and back pain
You may have noticed in some classes lately we've been paying some special attention to our feet and ankles. Here are two simple exercises you can do at home or at your desk that will help strength those little guys.
HEEL LIFTS is a great exercise as it helps to strengthen the feet, ankles, and calves in the lower leg, while improving flexibility.
Exercise: Standing with weight placement equal from big toe to pinky toe and into the heel. Slowly and deliberately roll your weight forward through the middle of foot to the ball of your foot making sure the weight stays even (no rolling in or out), then continue up to toes as you lift your heel off the floor as high as you can stay balanced. Hold for a second at the top, and then slowly lower.
Repeat 10-20 repetitions.
TOE LIFTS (Dorsiflexion of the foot) is one of the single best exercises you can do to improve your balance!
As we age the muscle on the top of the foot weakens and it causes us to shuffle our feet along. This weakness causes us to trip on cracks, rugs, or whatever else may be in our way because we are too weak to lift the foot over the object.
Exercise: Sitting or standing with heels directly under knees. Lift your toes of one foot off the floor while the rest of your foot remains on the floor. Try to articulate one toe at a time (this may take some practice) You will feel the work on the top of your foot and into the shins.
Repeat 50-100 lifts to the point of fatigue in the muscle.
Sara Benson is co-owner of CrossFit Reanimated where she works as a Pilates Instructor, and coaches CrossFit.