Do you know what your foot is doing while it is on the ground? Most people do not. I can honestly say I was guilty of this myself for a long time. I thought I knew what my foot was doing, but I realized how wrong I was.
Your foot is a ‘tripod’ with the three points of contact being your heel, just behind your little toe, and just behind your big toe. When your foot is on the ground, you should have equal weight distribution between the three points of contact, just like the tripod of a camera.
Many times, due to both subconscious and conscious reasons, it is not happening that way.
Here are some common trends I see:
- Standing, walking, and running on the outside of the foot.
- You avoid pronation as much as you can because it becomes ingrained in your head by many shoe companies, running stores, clinicians, and coaches that pronation is a bad thing for the foot.
- You hear the ‘knees out’ cue by a coach with squats and lunges and push to the outside of your feet to create the knees out position rather than activating your hips to get your knees in the right position.
- You are told to get off the balls of your feet and toes when lifting and to get more weight on your heels. Rather than shifting into an equal weight distribution on your foot, you overexaggerate the weight shift onto your heels, completely taking your weight off the balls of your feet.
I don’t provide any of these examples simply because it is what I see as a clinician and a coach. I say them from personal experience, as I was guilty of all those faults at one point in time.
So how do you fix this?
You train your foot and ankle complex how to work properly.
The first step is gaining an awareness of what your body’s habits are.
From there, you can start doing exercises to train your foot how to work right, starting with Short Foot and Toe Strengthening.
Once you get good at that, then it is time start paying attention to what your foot is doing when you are loaded with squats, deadlifts, lunges, kettlebell swings, etc. If you have the ability to do these barefoot as well, I highly suggest that.
The foot is the foundation of your body. The more control you can train your foot and ankle complex to have, the better control you have over your entire body. The better control you have, the less pain you experience in your foot, lower leg, knee, IT band, hip, back, and even shoulder and neck.
Think about the injuries you have experienced in your foot, ankle, knee, hips, or back. Have you ever addressed the foot control and placement during your rehab for them? If not, you may want to consider it.
Written by Brianne Showman. Brianne is a physical therapist and running coach with Get Your Fix Physical Therapy And Performance. Her focus is on helping athletes resolve injuries in less time by getting to the root of the problem, improving movement patterns, and incorporating proper training to help the body to move more efficiently, more powerfully, and in less injury-prone ways.