Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been helping a lot of patients work on their foot flexibility. Most of those patients didn’t have foot pain, but the tightness in the muscles of their feet were preventing them from having a firm foundation with the ground, resulting in a variety of symptoms from neck pain to knee problems.
If you talk to skilled power lifters or runners, they will tell you that maintaining the dexterity of their feet is part of their strategy for staying injury free and performing well. Your feet are literally your foundation. When standing, there should be equal pressure in the forefoot and heel. There should also be equal pressure in the medial and lateral foot borders as well. Go ahead, stand up. Do you have equal pressure in all four quadrants?
If you have “flat” or overpronated feet, you will notice a lot of pressure along the inside part of your foot. If you have “cavus” or supinated feet, the pressure will be along the outside part of your foot. Those with tight calves may feel like the pressure is all in the front. Others with hammer toes will have a lot of pressure in the back, but not in their toes.
If the pressure isn’t equal in your feet, that asymmetry starts traveling up the kinetic chain to your knees, hips, back or even your neck. There have been cases were tight feet were causing tension headaches! Sports chiropractors (like me!) specialize in treating all of the joints and muscles of the body, including your feet. Not every chiropractor works on the lower extremity.
The next time you are in for your wellness adjustment, new injury evaluation or active care visit, ask me to check your feet (if we aren’t working on them already). Until then, try out these at home stretches to improve your flexibility. I often suggest Yoga Toes, including in this video. You can buy them on Amazon…here’s a link.
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