Foot and Ankle Biomechanics
Join us for a free Walking Clinic – June 23rd – details below
Have you ever had a sore spot after walking or running? A spot that lacks mobility or stability? Maybe a painful IT band, bothersome knee, plantar fasciitis. Have you tried specific stretches or exercises to help but with no lasting results… us too! It could be that the “problem area” is actually a symptom of a dysfunction – lack of mobility or stability – from somewhere else in your body.
Our body works as a chain reaction, and what happens down the chain affects everything above and vice versa. Walking and running are both full body chain reaction movements with different load, momentum and necessary control. So if there’s a link in the chain that moves too much or too little it effects the whole system and often becomes more pronounced with an increase in speed or load.
Dr. Gary Gray, our teacher and mentor at the Gray Institute, has a saying that goes “When the foot hits the ground, everything changes.” But what happens if it doesn’t? What happens if it’s the foot that’s a little rusty or can’t absorb motion to create power? A rusty foot or ankle is often the culprit of pain in the knee, hip and even up into the shoulder and neck.
The foot and ankle on their own are very complex; there are 26 bones, a torque converting joint, motion that occurs in all 3 planes – all 6 directions, 12 muscles that stabilize around the ankle and into the foot and lots of connective tissue in tendons and ligaments. It’s also directly connected to the rest of the body (chain reaction) and never works in isolation.
For efficient gait (walking or running) all of the foot and ankle components need to absorb motion and load. After the loading phase it then needs to be proficient in reversing the motion to become a stabile and strong platform to transform load into forward propulsion. Maybe it sounds a bit complicated, and honestly it is. But the training for mobile and stabile feet and ankles specific to walking and running doesn’t have to be.
Follow along with our video for some simple but targeted foot and ankle exercises to feel more ease, more power and more control in your whole body when you’re out for your next walk or run. These exercises can be done before you head out for a walk and also anytime throughout the day to give more resources to the body. There should be no pain with any of these exercises, so if you’re experiencing pain back off a bit or get in touch so we can help you figure out why.
If you’re curious about learning more about the importance of your feet, ankles, hips and thoracic spine while walking and how you can improve your full body efficiency, endurance and recovery come join us for our Walking Clinic on June 23rd at Kinsmen Beach at 11:00am. You’ll get some take away exercises, knowledge about the body from us and info on correct footwear the importance of hydration and pacing from our friend Candace at Crazy Soles. We are happy to offer the clinic free of charge, all we ask for in return is your commitment if you choose to join us. Covid protocols will be in place and spaces are limited so call (250-342-6600) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to register or ask any questions you may have, we’re happy to chat!