Functional Feet – A secret weapon in movement performance
We spend a lot of time working out ways to get more developed muscles, more stable knees, hips, and shoulder joints, and a better working core. I have not yet had someone come to me saying I really want to improve my feet. The more I learn about the body the more fascinated I am becoming in the importance of functional feet and their relationship to good movement throughout the body, especially the ankles, knees, and hip joints. Footwork has become part of my own daily warm up routine and my clients.
Someone who has very flat feet or very high arches could be suffering from calf problems, knee problems, or hip problems due to the restriction in their feet. This is because tight muscles in the feet cause the bones in the foot and ankle to lock up, which then has a knock-on effect in the knee and hip. If the ankle bone does not glide properly, then the knee and hip bones do not either.
I just recently had a client complaining to me that when they ran, their left kneecap was hurting, so we spent fifteen minutes before our session releasing their feet with a trigger point ball. When we finished my client did a run and had no knee pain at all. Now it’s important to mention that not all knee and hip injuries are related to tight feet, however it is a good place to look when you are suffering from reoccurring knee, hip and back issues. If we all pay a little more attention to our feet by making sure we release them before we train, it will ensure easy gliding of the bones in the ankle for good foot mechanics. If we then follow this by strengthening the intrinsic muscles of the feet for support and maintenance, I think our bodies would be much happier with us. Have a think about how much your feet do for you in a day and how much you currently do for your feet. Probably not as much as you do for the rest of your body!
If you are a runner or a cyclist spending 15 minutes working on your feet before your training session will make a huge difference because it will actually assist in better movement of your knee and hip, so if you suffer from tight hips or sore knees then try adding in some foot rolling with a trigger point ball and some calf raises off a rolled-up towel (not a step) and see what it does for you.
Qualified movement specialist