Did you know your abdominal muscles aren’t your body’s only core muscles you need to be strengthening? At a recent medical conference, Irene S. Davis, Ph.D., PT, FACSM, FAPTA, FASB, professor in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, shared her unconventional approach to treating plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. Davis believes people need to build core foot strength.
Over time, humans evolved to become endurance runners. However, today, people don’t live the same type of lives that our bodies are evolved for. Unfortunately, our bodies have a harder time adapting to today’s fast-changing environment. Davis blames our diet, the air, and our activity level for causing many of today’s illnesses like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal injuries.
According to Davis, most running injuries are due to faulty mechanics – and not necessarily over training. For runners to be injury-free, they need to build ankle and foot strength.
Common Running Injuries Requiring Foot Strength Exercises
One of the most common running injuries is plantar fasciitis. This degenerative condition develops when the plantar fascia ligament becomes stretched and torn when the arches aren’t properly supported. The plantar facia then becomes inflamed, causing pain. Traditionally, rehabilitation for plantar fasciitis focuses on having the person wear an orthotic device, like the ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotic, to support the foot. However, rehabilitation should also be done. Rehabilitation should include foot strengthening exercises to retrain the muscles to work as they’re supposed to. A progressive 8-week foot strengthening program can help improve foot function.
One exercise Davis recommends is “doming” in which you keep your toes flat on the ground while squeezing your arch and drawing the ball of your foot towards your heel. However, Davis warns that you need to avoid flexing your toes, like you’re gripping the floor, and overworking the tibialis anterior muscle. Additionally, you don’t want your rear foot to roll outward excessively, called supination, while performing this exercise.
Another common running injury is Achilles tendinitis, which is the inflammation and/or deterioration of the Achilles tendon. To improve Achilles tendinitis, Davis recommends tendon strengthening exercises. She also suggests that runners switch from striking the ground with their rearfoot while running to striking with their forefoot.
Build Foot Strength with a Foot Gym
Kathy Carandang, certified pedorthist and founder of the WalkEZStore, believes the core muscles of the foot need to be strong to ensure a proper gait. One way to build foot strength is by using a Foot Gym.
The Foot Gym is an all-in-one, foot exercise device that can be used for strengthening your muscles to improve balance, stability, and overall foot function. The Foot Gym enables you to perform 7 different ankle and foot exercises using three levels of resistance bands (light – yellow, moderate – green, and firm – red resistance).
If you need rehabilitation following an injury or surgery, the Foot Gym can treat plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and other foot injuries or surgeries – as well as foot pain. The Foot Gym also features a massage roller for soothing massage therapy and pain relief. Just fill the roller with water and freeze or heat. Then roll your foot on the roller to ease sore muscles.
Not only does Kathy recommend the Foot Gym, but top podiatrists, orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors and physical therapists recommend it, too, to improve foot strength. Heck, even Olympic athletes use Foot Gyms, so you know it must work.
Purchase a Foot Gym from the WalkEZStore
To order, send us an email or call 888-392-5539, ext. 1 for Customer Service.
ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics for Better Foot Function and Pain Relief
Additionally, you can help improve foot conditions like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis by wearing ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics. These orthotics are customized to your individual feet. Not only do these custom orthotics provide foot strength, but they also give your feet the proper support you need while realigning your gait. If you suffer from foot pain, ezWalker® Custom Orthotics have been found to reduce foot pain in as little as six months to a year, based on customer experiences. In fact, Kathy Carandang believes in the performance of ezWalker® Custom Orthotics so strongly that she offers a 90-day, money-back guarantee. So, what do you have to lose – except your pain!
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Cover photo credit: iStock / KyKyPy3Huk