By Hannah Alderfer, BA, CPT, FMSC
You probably don’t put much thought into strengthening your feet, but you should! Mostly I discuss this with clients that run regularly, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all benefit from a stronger foundation. Unfortunately, weak and stiff feet and ankles don’t just affect runners!
Foot drills can prevent shin splints, achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and lessen the chance of ankle sprains and knee problems (and more!) by challenging the foot with various gaits. With any activity involving the lower body, each foot strike becomes more “sure,” so the foot contacts the ground with less wobble. This sure foot strike eliminates overuse syndromes and can improve skills such as cornering or jumping. By adding just 4 minutes to your training plan you can provide efficient and effective injury prevention to the lower leg, by providing stability, mobility and strength to the feet and ankles. These drills can be done daily, or several times per week, ideally, for benefits. Here are the drills: Choose a flat, soft surface (carpet, grass, turf) and perform each for about 25 meters, barefoot:
Inversion: walk on the outsides of feet
Eversion: walk on the insides of feet
Toes In (Pigeon Toed): walk with toes pointed inward
Toes Out (Duck Walk): walk with toes pointed outward
Toes (backward): walk on balls of feet
Heels (forward): walk on heels (if on a hard surface, put shoes back on)
Need a video guide for a better visual? Check out the link here.