Fixing Your Feet – Why Foot Strength is Important, and How to Improve Yours

I was born with feet that are pretty great for swimming.  Wide, relatively flat, pretty much hobbit-feet, but without the hair.  Unfortunately, these flippers have never bestowed upon me Phelps-esque prowess in the water…all they do is make it really hard to find shoes that fit well.  I had always assumed that having pretty severe pronation and weak arches was hereditary, and I would get to enjoy those traits (and the injuries they to which they make me so inclined) for life.  That’s why I was surprised and delighted to find this article about “How & Why to Make Your Feet Stronger.”  This was a guest post by Kate Galliet on Robb Wolf’s site, which is one that I don’t normally visit unless Gandalf Google leads me there (probably because it’s a website about paleo, and mama don’t do paleo).  Let’s just say I’m glad I found this, because it’s been a game changer.  First of all, I had never thought that there was a possibility of fixing my arches – silly, because I know that the arch is a comprised of muscles, but I’d always viewed feet as things that were just kind of there – fancy little nubs on your legs that made standing and moving much easier, but not really anything to be trained specifically.  After all, where’s the aesthetic value or sex appeal in a strong, “toned” foot? (Assuming you’re not a foot fetishist, of course.  And if you are, well, ew.)

I digress.

The strength and stability of your feet and ankles is actually hugely important because your stance is the foundation of the rest of your posture.  If something in the foundation is off, everything else – knees, hips, spine, shoulders – is going to be affected, and has a heightened risk for imbalance and eventual injury.  Since I’ve got plenty of “quirks” (to put it kindly) involving my creaky knees, uneven hips, and bum shoulder, it stands to reason that my wonky hobbit feet may be partly to blame.  Check out “The 6 Pillars of the Unbreakable Body” (also from Kate, and also on Robb’s site…go figure) for a more thorough explanation of how the integrity of your feet and ankles affects the whole rest of your body.

In the first article I mentioned, Kate shares a couple drills  you can do to increase the strength of your feet/arches as well as improve your foot position and posture.  I gave them a shot and was surprised at how strange it felt to actually stand with my feet properly positioned.  There is a significant difference in the leg/hip/glute muscles that are activated when standing properly vs. standing as I normally would.  Clearly I’ve got work to do…but I’m excited to see the difference as time goes on and my feet/arches get stronger.  Kate seemed to be saying it was possible to correct arches that are too low/flat, and while I’m not holding my breath for beautiful ballet-dancer arches, I’m hoping my little hobbit hooves will become a bit less hobbit-y and a lot less injury prone over the next several months!

Check out the article and give those quick drills a try, then let me know what you think!

Discuss:

Have you ever had foot problems or suffered a foot injury?

Do you ever think of specifically training the muscles in your feet/ankles?

If you gave those foot strength drills a shot, how did it go??

 

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One thought on “Fixing Your Feet – Why Foot Strength is Important, and How to Improve Yours

  1. I had an intense pain in the arch of my foot last November. I think it was due to wearing improper shoes during spin class and not placing my feet in the proper place. I ended up taking a few months away from spin and when I started again in February – the pain was gone. I guess I just started to overdo my workouts (I’m taking 4-5 spin classes/week plus a couple of runs and the elliptical each week) and my body began to respond. Balance Diane, balance!!

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