Intrinsic foot strength, do we need it?

By February 10, 2015Health and Fitness

How many people actually make a conscious effort to strengthen their feet?

It’s a question which I now ask all my clients, “Do you strengthen your feet?” The answer is always the same, a confused, puzzled look. Yet I’m sure they all spend a considerable amount of time using their feet.

Since studying Anatomy in Motion, I have become obsessed with feet. How they move, the bones, joints, the different foot types, pronation / supination etc…

It amazes me how little attention feet get for something that’s so damn important! They are the gateway for force to be transmitted in and out of our body. The only part to actually be in contact with the ground.

Everyday your feet a subjected to thousands of pounds of pressure, yet what precautions have you taken recently to ensure you feet are functioning correctly? I have a feeling I can guess the answer.

I love the feature video in this post by Dr Andreo Spina (Functional Anatomy Seminars) on intrinsic foot strength. I now send this video to all my clients and get them to practice them. The sad thing is many people cant’ perform many of the exercises (I really struggle with toe ADduction). I’m not just saying there bad at it, they can’t even initiate the movement. There is simply is no neural pathway they can access, let alone strengthen!

They get frustrated, we all laugh about it, but there’s a sad truth behind it.

Were simply not using our feet they way nature intended! Poor footwear choices like heels, nike air and anything else with a 1″ sole, and constantly walking on flat surfaces is robbing our feet of the proprioceptive input and adaption they crave.

Unless your making the time to put that input in yourself, then over time change to function will occur, followed by change to form. Anyone have pronated feet? If so, I bet you struggle with pronation (I find it funny how people with pronated feet, usually suck at pronation).

Anyone serious about their training, sports improving themselves, or resolving chronic pain, should start paying more attention to their feet. Practicing the exercises in Dr Spina’s video is a great place to start. Alternatively, I would recommend seeing someone who is trained in Anatomy In Motion, and also try to get your foot scanned walking on a pressure plate, there’s no masking the problems then…

As always, it’s your choice…



About Luke Summers

Luke is a co-founder / director of Kinect Health & Performance. His passion for helping people overcome pain and injuries has led to the development of the Kinect Health System. A unique approach to helping people move better, feel better, perform better and live pain free!

One Comment

  • Great discussion there!
    During my training as a therapist one of my tutors also mentioned that we introduced shoes to kids way too early which leads to poor foot muscles development, weak arch etc… The key is to make them walk on as many different surfaces as possible (sand, grass, pebbles…) to activate those little intrinsic muscles.
    I don’t have amazing foot strength myself because of natural laxity and two bunions slowly taking over (surgery could be an option but because being genetically lax, they’d come back I was told). Regular exercise definitely helps though and am pretty sure if I applied these exercises I could maybe slow down or reverse the process (hey I believe in miracles so why not)

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