Our feet are an incredible part of our body. Over a quarter of the bones in the entire body are found in the feet and ankle area. Our feet are also incredibly sensitive housing over 7000 nerve endings, as many people have found out the hard way when walking over small rocks barefoot. Unfortunately, despite these amazing abilities, many of us do not have good mobility or control in our feet. Having better control of the movements and muscles in our feet improves our balance and how we walk.
Try these 3 movements to see how well your foot muscles function and how mobile your foot is.
Can you raise your big toe without lifting the other toes off the ground?
The big toe is one of the major players in the foot. As you walk, the big toe absorbs twice the total pressure of the other four toes. It contributes significantly to our efficiency and force absorption through its impact on the arch.
Can you spread your toes so that the width of your foot increases by at least 1cm?
- Spreading the toes allows our body to effectively manage the forces that the foot has to absorb during ground impact. In addition, spreading the toes gives our foot a broader base allowing us to balance more effectively, especially when we are on the one foot.
Can you touch your knee to the wall with your foot at least 5cm away from the wall itself without letting your heel lift up?
- Ankle flexibility and mobility commonly reduce as we age and this has a number of consequences. Firstly, it makes us less adaptable to any variations in the surfaces that we walk on, making us more likely to fall. Secondly, it increases the pressure on the knees and which have to move and twist more to compensate, especially when we bend down.
If you found any of the movements above difficult, and your answer was no to any of the questions above, practice the same movement everyday until you can!