Your foot is amazingly complex and contains 26 bones, more than 12 muscles, and countless nerve endings. Brian KinslowPT, DPT, Owner Evolve Flagstaff. “It acts as a flexible shock absorber for every step, a powerful lever that propels you forward when you walk or run, and is a rich source of sensory information that informs the brain about Where is the body in space?. “
Research shows that during running, the foot and ankle knots are tolerated Three to five times your weight. While jumping, the amount of force varies depending on the landing style (such as two feet versus one) and the height of the jump, but in general, you look at At least four to five times your body weight. Either way, assuming 150 pounds of weight, that’s at least 450 pounds of force through your foot and ankle!
If this is not sufficiently required, the compound of the foot and ankle moves with force and motion in every direction, whether straight forward and backward (sagittal plane), side to side (anterior plane), rotation (transverse plane), or a combination of both. During any and all of these moments, the foot and ankle absorb force while bearing weight, and when you deflect, they release that force and stabilize the foot and ankle in the air.
Why is it important to strengthen your foot and ankle?
Given the amount of force that goes through the feet and ankles, the type and angles of force they deal with, and the fact that we use it a lot (every step), it’s no surprise that foot and ankle injuries are some of the most common injuries in the general active population.
Moreover, the foot-ankle complex affects the rest of the leg. When your foot hits the ground, a shock wave of force is transmitted in it upwards. The more force the foot and ankle are able to absorb, the less this shock wave is transmitted to the shins, knees, and higher.
Each of these factors contributes to the unique biomechanics of the complex of the foot and ankle. For example, the foot is separated into three regions—the forefoot (think of the soccer ball), the midfoot (from the front of the ankle bone to the beginning of the ball of the foot), and the backfoot (from behind the ankle bone to the heel), each with separate mechanics, function, and purpose and unique.
For these reasons, ankle health is an essential part of overall physical health. For Dr. Kinslow, “Foot and ankle health is an essential part of bone health. It’s something that the majority of patients and clients have in mind, even if they don’t have foot or ankle pain. So don’t neglect your feet and ankles!”
If you haven’t considered “training” the foot and ankle like the rest of the body, don’t worry, because you’re probably in the majority. To get that right, here are five research-proven exercises — with advances too — to improve foot and ankle strength and function.
5 basic foot and ankle exercises
1. Foot and ankle eversion with strap
Sit barefoot on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you. Wrap the end of a long resistance band around the ball of your left foot. Let it pass under the bottom of your right foot (as if you were standing on it), and then hold both ends in your right hand. Bend your left toes toward your face Rotate it outside, then face them down while you rotate them inward. This is one representative. Start with two sets of 15 repetitions per foot, and increase the increase five times until you reach three sets of 25 repetitions. At this point, make the exercise more challenging by slowing down and counting to five to go back to the starting point each time.
2. Curl the hair with a towel
Sit barefoot on a chair and Lay a bath towel (folded in half) on the floor in front of you. Place a book or sneakers on the end of the towel opposite you and place both feet on the end of the towel closest to you. Keeping your feet flat on the floor with the towel underneath, pull the weight close to you by twisting your toes to clean the towel like an accordion. This is one representative. Start with two sets of 15 repetitions and build up in increments of five until you reach three sets of 25 repetitions. At this point, make the exercise more challenging by wrapping a resistance band around your toes and twisting against the resistance.
3. Heel sits and toe raised
Start sitting on a chair With your bare feet about shoulder width apart and flat on the floor. Lift both heels off the floor while keeping the balls of your feet on the floor, then slowly lower your heels back down again. Reverse the movement with your toes and forefoot leaving the ground while the heels remain on the ground. This is one representative. Start with two sets of 15 repetitions in a seated position and ramp up in increments of five until you reach three sets of 25 repetitions. At this point, make the exercise more challenging by doing the same progression while standing. The final step is to progress to do this position, balancing on one leg at a time.
4. short feet
Begin by sitting in a chair with your bare feet on the floor. Without rolling your toes, raise the arches of your feet, keeping the ball off the foot and heel on the floor. Start with two sets of 15 repetitions in a seated position and ramp up in increments of five until you reach three sets of 25 repetitions. At this point, make the exercise more challenging by doing the same while standing. The final progression is balancing on one leg at a time.
Stand on one leg for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Alternate between the two men for three rounds. Once you can easily complete this, repeat applying on a soft surface such as a pillow. For advanced balance training, repeat the above sequence and close your eyes!
This program helps build foundational strength, mobility, balance, and reflexes in the foot and ankle complex to better cope with the high demands of daily life, activities and sports. Give it a try and once you’re done, you can incorporate it into your daily warm-up as well. Your feet and ankles will thank you!