The importance of foot strength
Feet are complex and it is important they are strong. There are multiple intricate bones and joints in the foot and just as many muscles. These muscles are important in both balance and ‘posture’ of the lower body. Just like poor posture in the back, poor ‘posture’ in the foot can lead to pain and possible injury.
The kinetic chain starts at the foot and it follows that weakness and collapse at this structure has consequences higher up in the body. Pronation, or ‘rolling in’, of the foot results in inward collapse at the knee joints (valgus stress), twisting of the hip (internal rotation), and extension of the lumbar spine. All of this places unnecessary stress on the joints and ligaments at these areas.
Weak Feet Can Lead To Injury
Many common injuries such as medial knee pain, tight hip flexors, and lower back stiffness are worsened, and sometimes even caused by, collapse at the feet. They can all be alleviated by strengthening the muscles that hold up the feet, thus correcting this ‘posture’. Supportive shoes and orthotics are helpful in the short term, but do not address the underlying issue of foot weakness. A dedicated foot strengthening program ensures that the feet are able to support the body in all circumstances.
If you are experiencing pain or injury in the knee, hip or lower back, it is important to ask your physiotherapist to assess how your feet may be contributing to the problem. Your physiotherapist will perform a functional assessment to determine whether there are any issues with the movement in your feet, and what might be causing it. From here, they will develop a specific rehabilitation program to fix the issue.
A simple exercise that you can start doing today is the Towel Curl.
- Sitting on a chair, place a towel on the floor underneath your foot.
- Using your foot, scrunch the towel to pull it towards you
- Continue for a set of one minute, and repeat five times.
This exercise uses the small muscles inside the foot that help to hold up the arch.
For foot assessment and rehabilitation, book with one of our physiotherapists today.