*This article was originally published by Active Physio Works, which is part of the Lifemark family
Ever notice how the structure of the foot mirrors the arch of a bridge? When you’re walking or running, your arches cushion the force created by the impact of every step and distribute it equally across the joints in the feet to manage it as efficiently as possible.
Several small muscles surrounding the arches are also active when you’re walking or running. Research has shown that strengthening these muscles with the “short foot exercise” can have many benefits. At least 4 weeks of training of these muscles can improve your dynamic balance, proprioception (your ability to determine your body’s position in space) and arch height (for people with low arches).
This type of training can be benefit runners, athletes and people who suffer from conditions including ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon pain, metatarsalgia and flat feet deformities.
Mastering the “short foot exercise”
Have you ever tried strengthening these muscles? If you haven’t, you’re not alone. Many people are unaware of their presence and how training them could be beneficial.
As the name implies, “short foot exercise” (also known as foot doming) involves using your intrinsic foot muscles to create a dome by pulling the back end of your toes toward your heel, which shortens the length of your foot. This exercise can feel a bit awkward at first and it may take some time and focused attention for you to learn this new skill, but hang in there.
When you first try this exercise, use your foot that’s not hurting. It’s possible you’ll experience some cramping, but that’s okay. Simply relax your foot muscles and try again.
What you’re trying to develop with this exercise is endurance. To strengthen your feet, you’ll need to hold the short foot position for a while and then repeat this exercise regularly throughout the day. The good news is, you don’t need any equipment to perform this exercise and you can do it anywhere. Some people can even do it without taking off their shoes.
Physiotherapy and foot pain
Keeping your feet flexible and strong can help reduce foot pain, improve your overall foot health, reduce muscle soreness and keep you active. Strengthening your feet can help them provide better support and protection for your foot as a whole.
If you’re experiencing foot pain, don’t put off treatment. Schedule an evaluation with a Lifemark clinician to find out if this exercise is the right fit for your needs and how to do it properly. A physiotherapist can evaluate your condition and create a personalized treatment program for you.
If you would like to consult a Lifemark clinician, check out our Locations page to find a clinic near you or book online to schedule an appointment at a Lifemark clinic near you.