Updated: Aug 9
Are your feet and ankles healthy? Do you have good ankle mobility? Do you have good movement in for feet? Do they ache or swell? Maybe I can help you understand why.
Every little step you take requires the ankle to move the foot up and down. This movement is called Dorsi and Plantar Flexion.
If you do not have adequate movement the foot can not hit the ground and push off efficiently creating a lack of energy in the lower leg muscles and causing undue forces and stress in other parts of the body.
Your ankle joint supplies the power for 40% to 70% of your forward movement during walking.
Stand on your toes or point your toes, that is plantarflexion. It's the push-off phase of a step.
Dorsiflexion is when the toes pull up toward your knee. When you step through with your heel down you must have enough Dorsiflexion to complete the stride through to the Push-Off phase.
If you have tight calves or flat feet your range will be limited causing the stride to be reduced or modified, resulting in a duck-like walk, or short-shuffling gait.
Without adequate ankle range of motion, your knee and hip must move more to accommodate the insufficiency. This can result in knee, hip, or back pain. It can also cause bunions, corns, plantar fasciitis, and other painful situations.
Each foot is made up of 26 bones, 30 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It joins with the lower leg bones to form the ankle joint which all works together to provide support, balance, and mobility. That’s a complicated network of tissues!
It is important to keep ankles and feet strong and flexible.
For older adults, foot exercises can increase muscle strength, improve balance, gait speed, and reduce the likelihood of falling.
Our feet and ankles get lots of work on a daily basis. Maintaining good mobility is imperative to healthy feet and ultimately a healthy body.
Don't ignore your feet and ankles.
Try these easy fixes.
While you are sitting watching TV or surfing the internet you can do mobility exercises. Point, flex, circle, and move your feet.
Roll a ball under the bottom of your foot.
Rub and massage them. Where's the love?
Make sure that your feet and ankles are prepared for your hike, run, tennis game, or biking.
Stand on a step and stretch your calves.
Sit on your heels with toes pointed, stretching the tops of the feet.
Walking on your heels and then on your toes can be a good foot and ankle strengthening exercise that you can do throughout the day. Doing them barefoot is best.
Be careful not to overdo it at first, progression is important.